"African-American / Black Studies" Essays

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Psychodynamic: President Barack Research Paper

Research Paper  |  2 pages (790 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


His nickname is 'No Drama Obama' and although he is a charismatic speaker as well as erudite, it is said his campaign aides must often prod him to show passion. Many have cited his Harvard Law Review background (he was the editor while a student at Harvard) and his experience teaching constitutional law as the source of his scholarly demeanor. "He was grounded, comfortable in his own skin, knew who he was, where he came from, why he believed things,' Kenneth Mack, a friend of Obama's from Harvard and now a professor there, says. 'When I read the book [Dreams From My Father], I was surprised -- the confusion and the anger that he described, maybe they were there below the surface, but they were not manifest at all [on the surface]'" (MacFarquhar: 2007: 3).

In his politics, Obama has also been criticized for compromising traditional liberal values, such as his willingness to 'bail out' both banks and big business in the form of the American automotive industry -- decisions that recent history has vindicated him for, many believe. Moreover, he did use his political clout to pass a historic act of healthcare legislation, using profound political capital to do so. Some of his critics believed this was a mistake, and that he should have focused more on the economy instead. Regardless it is a testimony to the fact that in terms of his actions, Obama is willing to 'put himself on the line' -- but often quietly, in a non-demonstrative fashion, Obama is fundamentally a pragmatist, not an ideologue in a manner that seems to reject both the chaos of the lives of his parents, children of the 1960s. He has embraced and embodied some of their values -- his father's minority status, for example, and his mother's passion for both justice and academia, yet translated these values into his own, highly developed and regimented way of governing his life. Obama's resolution of the Freudian 'family romance' has been to create a strong superego to deal with his conflicted upbringing, in parents that offered role models he could not perfectly emulate or desire.


Barak Obama. (2012). Biography. Retrieved:


MacFarquhar, Larissa. (2007). The conciliator. The New Yorker. Retrieved:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/05/07/070507fa_fact_macfarquhar#ixzz1pbLlZHPI… [read more]

Psychology of the Black Experience Connect to the Art Exhibition Reaction Paper

Reaction Paper  |  2 pages (659 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


Psychology of the Black Experience: Connect to the Art Exhibition

On the surface, the unique 'blackness' of the experiences chronicled by Whitfield Lovell in his art seems to merely exist on the surface, in terms of their subject matter. As detailed in Kevin Quashie's essay entitled: "More than you know: The quiet art of Whitfield Lovell," there is a quietude and interiority to Lovell's works that is not associated with black art and the black artistic experience in America. Quashie, in his analysis of Lovell's works, makes an appeal for the rights of African-Americans to create a private, interior space for the soul, outside of the realm of public discourse. By focusing on individuality and humanity, he stresses the need for African-American artists to transcend the dichotomies created by politics.

Yet the need to claim 'I am' and to engage in soul-searching about one's identity is a critical aspect of the psychology of the American black experience, given that one's right to say 'I am a man' or 'I am a woman' is so often denied. The history of the black experience is subtly implied Lovell's works such as "Run like the wind" which portrays a black woman and barbed wire that symbolically suggests a fence, a manacle and a crown of thorns all at once. Lovell calls this work "Kin XXXII. Even though the woman in the picture is not his blood kin, he feels he shares a kinship with all African-Americans who were subjected to slavery and resisted the institution. The woman's 19th century garb confirms this association. Other images of "Kin" include pictures of a woman's face near an overseer's whip, and a man's face near small images of the American flag, suggesting an ironic juxtaposition of patriotism with the face of someone denied his rights. All of the faces are highly individualized, yet the commonness of the experiences of slavery unites them, not simply their race.

Q2. The strength of Lovell's works lies in his…… [read more]

Human Agency Assessment

Assessment  |  3 pages (990 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


Human Agency

Kate Chopin's protagonist Edna Pontellier shares a surprising amount in common with both Malcolm X and W.E.B. DuBois. Pontellier, like Malcolm X and W.E.B. DuBois, forges her own path and develops an identity distinct from and in some ways, in opposition to, the dominant culture. Edna Pontellier's identity is formed via a sexual awakening and a redefinition of gender roles and norms of behavior. Human agency in Kate Chopin's the Awakening is that power which enables Edna Pontellier to assert her identity and subvert traditional gender roles. In "W.E.B. DuBois on Woman Suffrage," Garth E. Pauley delves deeper into the intersection between gender and racial politics. Like Edna Pontellier, W.E.B. DuBois was conscious of the ways women are subjugated and oppressed in American society. Yet W.E.B. DuBois takes the analysis one step further to show that one type of oppression is akin to the other: the disenfranchisement of women is the self-same issue as the disenfranchisement of African-Americans. Therefore, woman suffrage was a natural extension of black suffrage for W.E.B.DuBois. In Malcolm X's Autobiography, the author does not dwell overly much on gender. However, several passages in Malcolm X's autobiography do show how race, gender, and power do share points of political intersection. Ultimately these three texts present self-assertion and political empowerment as a function of human agency. Moreover, Chopin, Pauley, and Malcolm X show that conflict is a catalyst for human agency.

Malcolm X notes that he was raised in an environment of institutionalized racism, one in which racism was so entrenched that even his anti-white father seemed to favor his children with lighter skin. After his father's death, the white-controlled state legislature takes over the family and imposes what Malcolm X correctly observes to be a surrogate form of slavery. Malcolm X, his family torn apart, flees to New York where he becomes involved in the Harlem Renaissance as a street punk. His deviant behavior can be easily re-framed as a reaction to institutionalized racism. Lacking legitimate means to achieve upward social mobility, Blacks in America had three choices. They could sell out and conform to white social norms by participating in the white economy and social structure. They could maintain community ties with African-Americans but accept that poverty goes hand-in-hand with that choice. or, African-Americans can forge new means of acquiring wealth and power. If those means included criminal activities, then that was simply the way by which Malcolm X and others like him asserted themselves -- used their human agency to create personal and communal change.

Human agency is expressed in Malcolm X's Autobiography as deliberate subversion, just as human agency is expressed in Kate Chopin's Awakening as a blatant undermining of proscribed gender roles. Edna Pontellier acts promiscuously, following her heart rather than submitting to domestic slavery. Likewise, Malcolm X avoids symbolic and actual slavery by creating his own community. Influenced by the teachings of Marcus Garvey and later the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X understood that crisis…… [read more]

American Apartheid Modern Racial Segregation Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (619 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


American Apartheid

Modern Racial Segregation according to Massey & Denton

The inequality which has long been inherent to the experience of the African-American is at the center of the text by Massey and Denton (1993). The various facets of America's sociocultural makeup that have conspired to relegate certain ethnic and racial groups to a lesser status is considered in Chapters 6 through 8 in particular, where the authors provide explanation for the significant imbalance as it persists today.

Massey and Denton avoid blaming the victims, as it were, by focusing not on the tendencies of individuals living in negative cultural and economic circumstances to perpetuate negative habits and tendencies but on the larger social barriers preventing ascendance. The argument that pervades Chapter 6 seems ultimately to resolve that there are distinct geographical and residential patterns that have foretold and sustained the inequality which is generally experienced by African-Americans. As the text tells, "the high degree of residential segregation imposed on blacks ensures their social and economic isolation from the rest of American society. As we have seen, in 1980 ten large U.S. cities had black isolation indices in excess of 80 (Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Gary, Newark, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.)." (Massey & Denton, 160)

This figures significantly into such works as that by Shaw (2008), which argues that the outcome of such a condition can be observed quite clearly in our public schools. According to Shaw, public schools are a pointed example of the repercussions of geographical segregation. Though the late 1970s and 1980s had seen an active integration of schools promoting greater diversity, Shaw, using Seattle as an example, reports that this trend has essentially been reversed. The conditions in our neighborhoods are also evident in our schools, where, "today, a total of 30 schools -- close to a third of the district's buildings…… [read more]

Blacks in Colonial America by Oscar Reiss Research Proposal

Research Proposal  |  5 pages (1,605 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 1


Blacks in Colonial America by Oscar Reiss

In the book Blacks in Colonial America, Oscar Reiss (1997) paints a clear picture of the problems that these people faced and the struggles that they went through, which was the purpose of the book overall, and the main theme running through it. American slavery, a contributor to and reflection of racism, was… [read more]

Slavery in 1619 (a Year Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,450 words)
Style: APA  |  Bibliography Sources: 3



In 1619 (a year before the Mayflower landed in Massachusetts) more than 20 black people from Africa sailed into Chesapeake Bay in Virginia and were traded to the colony's authorities by their captain in exchange for supplies he needed for the ship. They are often thought to be the first slaves in North America, but actually, African people were… [read more]

1960s Movements Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (949 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 1


American History

The Greatest Change since 1945 -- Civil Rights

During the 1950s, the NAACP had to fight for the right of African-American children to go to the same public schools as white children in the South (252). It was considered a radical statement for Martin Luther King Jr. To proclaim the equality of all American citizens, and to envision a future where Black and White children would be able to join hands and sing of brother and sisterhood (256). King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech before the Lincoln Memorial, a telling image of how the Civil War's promise to African-Americans of equality and justice had yet to be realized. Even the radical Black Muslim leader Malcolm X idealized the image of Whiteness when he was a young man to such a degree that he burned his own scalp with lye, to look more like a White man, with smooth hair (251). Whiteness was desirable because it was associated with privilege, success, and esteem, even in the eyes of many Blacks. And yet, not so far in the future, a Black man in contemporary America has declared his desire to become president, is taken seriously in his bid for the Democratic nomination for president. Could even King or Malcolm X dream that this would take place in 2007?

While the struggle for women's rights, the countercultural movement, and other social movements of the 1960s would fundamentally restructure American society and change the way that America looked at itself, nothing altered the landscape of the American political and social landscape as much as the American Civil Rights movement. Before the Women's Rights movement women still worked, although their labor was not always recognized, and great women scholars, authors, and professionals had made their mark upon the American landscape. (Furthermore, one could argue that the movement would have meant very little to Black women, had it succeeded in its objectives, but the Civil Rights movement had not). As for the countercultural movement, old and young people have often been in conflict, and the methods of expression of the countercultural, anti-Vietnam movement such as sit-ins and boycotts were often imitations of the techniques of the Civil Rights movement.

To understand the full impact of the Civil Rights movement one must remember what America looked like before the movement made itself manifest in the 1950s. Black inequality was enshrined in the original U.S. Constitution, in the form of the infamous 3/5ths compromise, which stated that Black human beings were worth only part of a White man. Slavery was allowed until the Confederacy went to war against the Union to protect its institution of slavery and wage the only civil war America has ever endured within its borders. Although some historians might say that the war was fought over state's rights, the primary right that the Confederates…… [read more]

Racial Profiling in the Legal System Term Paper

Term Paper  |  10 pages (3,110 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Civil Rights Movement

Whole books have been written on the subject of the civil rights struggle of African-Americans in the United States, a struggle that undoubtedly began when the first African slaves were brought to North America against their will. However, in recent history, the period of time in the 1950's and 1960's were pivotal because of the significant gains… [read more]

Randall Robinson's Book the Debt Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,487 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


That is, the responsibility does not lie "souly" (pun intended) with the whites, with the answer giving reparations as Robinson requests in an earlier book (and still believes will happen one day). Nor, should the responsibility lie only with those blacks who have "made it" to the middle-class. It almost appears as if they are being punished for succeeding and… [read more]

Bob Black When Great Social Struggle Research Paper

Research Paper  |  2 pages (635 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


Bob Black

When great social struggle involved, it is often professionals and artists who contribute not only their money, but also their time and work towards creating a more equal environment. This is true of Bob Black, who was born on June 4, 1939 in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from a Chicago public school, Black briefly attended Woodrow Wilson Junior College. After this, he began working.

Black's first work as a professional photographer was at the Chicago Defender, where he started in 1965 in the position of staff photographer. The Defender was the largest newspaper in the country to be owned by African-Americans. By association, Black's employment here entered him into the struggle to achieve equality for all Americans. This is a struggle the publication has been involved in since 1905, when it was founded.

The next step for Black was to leave the Defender for the Chicago Sun-Times, which he did in 1968. During 1993, there was an incident during which Black was fired from the Sun-Times for misuse of the company's resources. As a result of his unauthorized use of the company's Federal Express account and external photo lab, which, according to the company, cost them more than $1,400. Black's defense was that very few of these uses was for personal purposes and that none of it brought him any personal financial gain. In February 1994, Black was reinstated after an arbitrator intervened. The arbitrator met with the union of the paper and it was agreed that dismissal was excessive. While Black rejoined the Sun-Times, he was nevertheless not allowed back pay for the year in which he did not receive income from the company.

Along with his work at the Sun-Times, Black has also actively pursued other projects. His work has been accepted and displayed by many big-name publications, including the New York Times. Along with this, many other specialty publications published Black's work.…… [read more]

Profitable Wonders Washington, H. ) Article Review

Article Review  |  2 pages (600 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


"The experimental abuse of African-Americans was not a cultural anomaly; it simply mirrored…the economic, social and health abuses that the larger society perpetuated against people of color (Washington 2008: 56). Slaves were considered ideal 'test subjects' on which to perform everything from experimental surgeries to test cures for malaria. Although Brown's personal account opens up the piece, accounts of whites who describe matter-of-factly their use of blacks as experimental subjects are also marshaled in support of this contention. In no less than a publication than the Southern Medical and Surgical Journal, over half the articles described experiments upon blacks, who were also overrepresented in medical and surgical wards, primarily because of their 'usefulness' in experimentation. Often, procedures were performed without anesthesia. The logic of racism allowed a kind of perverse mental paradox -- on one hand, blacks were 'necessary' to use in experiments because they were human beings and were thus ideal to test out new remedies upon. On the other hand, they were also seen as innately inferior to whites and supposedly less susceptible to pain and thus could be treated cruelly in ways whites could not tolerate (Washington 2008: 58).

Even by the experimenter's own contemporary standards, many of the experiments were unscientific and when unsuccessful, blacks were blamed (such as for the high rates of infant mortality and disease caused by the conditions under which slaves were forced to live). Washington implies, however, that this blame of African-Americans for their medical problems on character flaws, versus social conditions and poor epidemiology and a lack of scientific rigor, is not something confined to the long past but can even be seen in the thinking of many scientists and public health officials today in issues where race…… [read more]

Changing Black Strusture Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (639 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


They also were able to receive some job training in skilled and semi-skilled work, but not as much as they were able to achieve during the Great Depression. During this era, African-Americans not only received a lot of governmental relief, but they also benefitted from a number of job programs that also gave them skills and office positions (Wilson, p. 126). Finally, World War II provided African-Americans another opportunity to take jobs vacated by soldiers and those away at war, while perhaps the single greatest contributing factor to an increase in the fate of these people in their social, economic and political standing was both legislature that outlawed discrimination in the work place in the years following World War II, as well as a conscientious effort of labor unions to include African-Americans and to offer racial equality for its members.

Meanwhile, the author also cites the fact that there was an emerging African-American middle class, which chronicled the rise of the social and economic lot of these people (Wilson, p. 125). Moreover, the fact that these people were now able to provide services and goods to their own people also accounted of the accumulation of wealth and social standing of a black middle class. This social class was influential in the early stages of the Civil Rights Movements of the 1950's and 1960's. However, it was not until the involvement of the poorer Blacks and violent protests that this movement actually helped. The author ends the article by citing the fact that after the Civil Rights movement, African-Americans asserted political control in cities at the time in which all of the money (and therefore political clout) of the cities moved to the suburbs. Thus, despite their gains, they also suffered setbacks.



William Wells Brown the Work(s) Research Paper

Research Paper  |  12 pages (3,523 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


This further reveals the life misfortunes that mulatto people experienced despite the brief life transformation into temporary comforts.

The novel, as played within the 19th century, reveals that Thomas Jefferson involved in an intimate relation with his slave; Sally Hemings, and gave rise to several children with her. Being of a mixed race with nearly white features, readers were made… [read more]

Brown v. Board of Education Essay

Essay  |  4 pages (1,383 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4


Klarman explains that the symbolism of Brown had a powerful and positive effect on black Americans. When the highest court in the country renders a decision that goes in favor of an oppressed minority -- after years and years of parents having to send their children to under-funded and under-staffed schools that were overcrowded and did not have modern facilities including relevant and updated textbooks -- it did inspire the African-American community.

Moreover, as Klarman points out, Brown (even though it didn't change things right away and some of the changes that were brought about were not ideal in terms of giving black students the same opportunities to learn the white students were given) the High Court decision "…furthered the hope and the conviction that fundamental racial change was possible." Indeed not long after Brown, the Civil Rights Movement began to take shape; and Klarman believes that while important litigation cannot by itself create social change, Brown opened the door for "Sit-ins, Freedom Rides, and street demonstrations."

The Civil Rights movement "…fostered black agency much better than did litigation," but again, the door to direct action was opened by the High Court's decision, Klarman continues. While Brown inspired southern whites to attempt to wipe out the NAACP, and this "…unintentionally forced blacks to support alternative protest organizations" like the SCLC and Students for Nonviolent Action (SNAP).

Positives that the Supreme Court Decision Brought About

Sociology professor David J. Armor argues that Brown "…aimed to end legally sanctioned segregation, sometimes called de jure segregation," and, he adds, there is "no question the ruling did that." That clearly points to a positive for the American society and for law under the Constitution. Armor is adamant about this issue because some critics of the ruling insist that Brown "…failed to desegregate schools" and that assertion is partly "untrue" and also partly "a distortion of the goals of Brown" (Armor, 2006, 40).

Certainly, as history has shown, desegregation did not happen instantly, although no one familiar with all the racial and political dynamics assumed that it would happen very quickly. It wasn't until the 1970 Swann decision, Armor points out, when the Supreme Court gave its approval to a "…comprehensive racial balance" manifested in the busing plan for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area of North Carolina, that specifics on how states and cities would fully desegregate schools were offered by the Court (40). This got the desegregation ball rolling, and in the north, the 1974 Keyes decision (in Denver, Colorado) helped get the huge task of desegregating schools moving toward.

Amor adds on page 41 that no matter how school segregation is measured or evaluated in America, there is "…no question," Amor continues, that segregation was "…reduced substantially during the 1970s and 1980s across the country."

Another positive that the Brown decision can take credit for is the fact that children born in the north were able to attend racially integrated schools fairly soon after Brown without having to go through the turmoil that was going… [read more]

20th Century the Harlem Renaissance Poem

Poem  |  2 pages (800 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


Perhaps I lived with my family in San Francisco, where there is one of the largest Asian communities in the U.S.A. Many Japanese-Americans at the time owned small and productive businesses, as well as worked in important parts of the community as civil servants in some fashion. Perhaps I would help my father in his paper store and helped my mother in her flower shop. Japan is well-known for their interest and flair for paper and ikebana is a very long tradition in Japanese culture (flower arranging). Therefore, this hypothetical family life is plausible. I would likely also assist in raising any younger siblings, cousins, and extended family members. I would lead a simple life and support my new country as many Japanese-Americans did and still do. If requested to serve in the armed forces during WWII, I think I would reluctantly participate. I would participate because it is my new country even though I would be fighting against my countrymen, but with the threat of Japanese-American internment, I would do what I was asked to do, no more and no less. I may have to make some difficult choices, but this is part of the life of immigrants to America -- they are always tied to and caught between where they come from and where they are.

The rise of conservative politics in the 1980s & 1990s in the U.S.A. was a reaction to the political and economic activities/trends of prior decades, specifically the 1960s and 1970s. The American people were displeased with the conflict in Vietnam. They were highly disappointed with the behavior and the general presidency of Richard Nixon. Upper and middle class white men argued that they were victims of reverse discrimination because of legislation put in place to support the presence of women and minorities in institutions of higher learning and various, if not all industries in the workforce. This period saw a rise in televangelism and increased tensions of the Cold War. The 1980s in America were the Reagan years and the early 1990s were one set of Bush years. Both men had conservative administrations that washed over this period of conservatism as well.… [read more]

Radical Groups Individuals and Organizations Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (761 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


Radical Groups, Individuals, And Organizations in the Civil Rights Movement

When most people think of the Civil Rights Movement, they think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And the peaceful civil disobedience that he advocated. While there is no question that Dr. King and those he led made significant gains in civil rights for African-Americans, it is important to keep in mind that they were not the only people working for greater civil rights for African-Americans. In fact, there were several notable radical groups, individuals, and organizations advocating for greater civil rights for African-Americans, who did not advocate the passive approach of working within the existing system to effectuate those changes. The best known of those groups, individuals, and organizations were the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, the Black Power Movement, the Black Arts Movement, and the Black Student Movement. While each had its own agenda, all of these political powers wanted an immediate end to white oppression of blacks and believed that an any-means necessary approach was substantially justified.

Other than Dr. King, Malcolm X may be the most well-known figure of the Civil Rights Movement. The two men could not have been more different. Dr. King grew up in a family of preachers, in the South, and practiced and preached non-violence. Malcolm X was from the North, was not particularly religious, and had a significant criminal history. While incarcerated, he became acquainted with the Nation of Islam, or the Black Muslims, a religious organization that "taught that white society actively worked to keep African-Americans from empowering themselves and achieving political, economic, and social success" (Estate of Malcolm X, 2012). When he emerged from prison, Malcolm X became an advocate for black civil rights, initially advocating for separatism, and even hatred of whites. While he became less militant after a life-changing trip to Mecca, he is often remembered as a person who advocated an anti-white status.

The Black Panthers was "the sole black organization in the entire history of black struggle against slavery and oppression in the United States that was armed and promoted a revolutionary agenda" (Huey P. Newton Foundation, 2012). It was initially established to help protect black individuals and black neighborhoods from routine police brutality. The organization eventually established a 10-point platform and program which addressed not…… [read more]

Rhetorical Analysis of the Ballot or the Bullet by Malcolm X Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (954 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


Ballot or the Bullet, Malcolm X was very effective. In fact, this may very well have been the beginnings of the reason for his assassination. While this may seem to many to be a morbid analysis, this author defines effectiveness as getting people to take action. First of all, his enemies took action against him and blacks were inspired to fight on, especially in the creation of the Black Panther Party.

Rhetorical Analysis

The change to a more militant form of resistance was found in Malcolm X To understand Malcolm, we have to break down his ideological beliefs as stated in his autobiography. His expressed beliefs changed much over the course of time. When he was a spokesman for the Nation of Islam, he taught black supremacy and preached the separation of black and white Americans which contrasted with the civil rights movement's emphasis upon integration. After his break with the Nation of Islam in 1964 he became a Sunni Muslim, disavowed racism and expressed a willingness to work with all civil rights leaders (such as Martin Luther King Jr.) while though still emphasizing black self-determination and self-defense. What was eye-opening for Malcolm was his trip to Mecca in 1964 which revealed Muslims of all colors involved in the Haj. At that time, he came to believe that Islam could be used as a vehicle to unite different races of humanity (Malcom X and Halley, vi-xiii). Al of the above experiences framed the perspectives for Malcolm and the militant audience that he wanted to reach as well as the enemies he wanted to make live in fear.

Throughout the speech, African-Americans were encouraged by Malcolm to stand up for their precious rights and to vote. He states that in the unfortunate event of non-compliance for black demands for equality from the government, they may need to take matters into their own hands use arms. The main mission of the speech was to convince African-Americans to join up with the Civil Rights Movement to finally stop disfranchisement. In the beginning of the speech, Malcolm states the fact that though he is a Muslim, he would not talk about his religion as it was not germane to the subject and would simply cause another means of African-American separation one from another. He continually said instead that the emphasis would lie upon an overall common ground for all African-Americans in the nation. He was trying to achieve a common understanding between African-Americans that they should stick together regardless of their religion. The title of the speech comes from the ballot to vote and the bullet to the use of arms if necessary. However, it is also a reference to how he related a ballot and a bullet. He stated, "A ballot is like a bullet. You don't throw your ballots until you see a target, and if that target is…… [read more]

Man Racism Isn't an Inborn Characteristic Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (677 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


¶ … Man

Racism isn't an inborn characteristic of the human heart; it's something that's learned and reinforced over time. James Baldwin's "Going to Meet the Man," is a heart-rending short story that unpacks how one man devolved from a tolerant young boy to a cruel bigot. It is the purpose of the viewpoint essay to discuss how Baldwin's protagonist in the story, Jesse, learns to be a racist and the dire costs associated with this transformation.

Jesse as a young boy is a tolerant and curious boy. He has black friend named Otis. He likes Otis, they play together and Jesse looks up to Otis for information concerning the complexity of race relations between southern whites and blacks, "He had grown accustomed, for the solution of such mysteries, to go to Otis. He felt that Otis knew everything. But he could not ask Otis about this" (Baldwin). That "this" is the gelding ceremony (the torture and subsequent mutilation of a black man), and Jesse has a palpable sense that something's amiss. He hasn't seen any black people in a few days, and he's wondering why people are acting different. On some level, he knows that something's wrong, that he is about to betray Otis in some way; hence that's why he cannot ask his friend about this event.

Sure enough, what Jesse participates in, what he witnesses, changes his life forever. During the lynching, his humanity is irrevocably altered. But because he is young and naive, he does not fight the transformation; he embraces it. And he loves his father for introducing it to him, "At that moment Jesse loved his father more than he had ever loved him. He felt that his father had carried him through a mighty test, had revealed to him a great secret which would be the key to his life forever" (Baldwin). That key is the false notion that he is superior to black people, that they are animals, that they are subhuman and loathsome. However, this is a secret that…… [read more]

Ella Baker Barbara Ransby Book Review

Book Review  |  5 pages (1,651 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Following the important conference, Baker resigned from the SCLC and began her long and close relationship with SNCC (pronounced "snick"). Baker was one of SNCC's most revered adult advisors. In 1961, she persuaded SNCC to form two wings: one for direct action and a second wing for voter registration. It was with Baker's help that SNCC coordinated regional freedom rides in 1961. She began working more closely with black sharecroppers and other poor people throughout the South. She insisted that strong people did not need strong leaders and she criticized the cult of personality. Baker pushed the idea of participatory democracy where she wanted each person to get involved individually.

In 1964, Baker helped to organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) in lieu of the regular Democratic Party. She worked as the coordinator of the Washington office of the MFDP and also accompanied a delegation of the MFDP to the convention of the National Democratic Party in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She went with the aim of challenging the national party to confirm the rights of blacks to participate in the party elections. When the MFDP delegates challenged the pro-segregationist and all-white official delegation, a major fight began. The MFDP delegation was not recognized. However, their influence on the Democratic Party did help to elect black leaders in the state of Mississippi and also forced a rule change to allow both women and minorities to sit in as delegates at the Democratic National Convention.


Till her death in 1986, Baker was an unflagging advocate of grass roots civil rights activism. Her example needs to be copied today to give us more in the way of freedom and democracy for all Americans, black and white. Her method of grassroots democratic change has been emulated by all of the civil rights movement even decades after her death. It is with this in mind that we should study her life and those of other civil rights activists.

Works Cited

Ransby, B. (2005). Ella baker and the black…… [read more]

Hurston and Hughes Essay

Essay  |  5 pages (1,517 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


It is not enough to become a part of the majority and accepted as a member of a colorblind group. Instead the majority must feel shame and remorse for ever putting the minority in an oppressive situation.

Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston were both authors writing during the Harlem Renaissance in a time in the United States when there was still institutionalized and legal racism. Both used their writings to illustrate the experience for African-American people but each portrayed that experience in a different way. That is because there simply is no singular African-American experience. No two people will have the same life and no two people will experience othering in the same way. For Hurston, her otherness was shaped by the labels not attributed to herself but to those she and her community gave to another group. Hughes' experiences with otherness came from labeling he received as the object of marginalization. When looking at the two writers together, it is clear that besides speaking to their reader, they are indirectly talking to each other.

Works Cited:

Hughes, Langston. "I, Too." Print.

Hughes, Langston. "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." Print.

Hurston, Zora Neale. "How it Feels…… [read more]

Barack Obama and the Deracialization Theory Thesis

Thesis  |  30 pages (8,978 words)
Bibliography Sources: 23


Barack Obama and the Deracialization Theory

The history of the United States has marked some of the most interesting and at the same time challenging events of the democratic process. It saw the breakup from an empire, a war of independence from what would eventually be considered a colonial system and a world order. It faced civil war which took… [read more]

Slavery the Enslavement of People Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (671 words)
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The land owners and the big companies that benefited from the buying and selling of their products became richer and afforded to buy more and more slaves from the African traders.

The North American colonists discovered the new alcoholic drink made of sugar cane molasses, the rum, and towards the second half of the seventeenth century started producing it themselves. The slave importers offered the cheap alcoholic drink to their African slave trader counterparts and thus the business of trading slaves became even more profitable than before (A History of the World in Six Glasses, Standage T.).

The young American people that freed itself from the yoke of the British tyranny continued to practice another form of tyranny, slavery, treating other human beings, the African-Americans, as their own property and not as their compatriots. The noble principles of the American Revolution and their fundament were applicable only for the free people of this country. "Slavery had created a hellish existence for the half million Africans caught in its grip and posed an ethical dilemma for liberal philosophers attempting to explain a slaveholders' revolution for freedom" (Slavery and the Making of America, Horton & Horton, p. 8).

The civil war will start as a result of the Abolitionist movement and the differences of opinion between the industrialized North and the feudalist South in this matter. The divergence of opinion between those who relied on the slave work and were not ready to give up their main source of wealth and the liberal North that had already entered capitalism under the industrial era will lead to a bloody war that will claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans and will eventually lead to the abolishing of the dreadful institution of slavery.

Horton, J.O, Horton, L.E. Slavery and the Making of America. Oxford University Press U.S., 2005

Eltis, D. The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas. Cambridge University Press, 2000

Standage T. A History of the World in Six Glasses. Walker & Company New…… [read more]

Comparative Book Review Stephanie Mckenzie the Black Book Review

Book Review  |  10 pages (3,037 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 2


Comparative Book Review
Stephanie Mckenzie
The Black Experience
November 22,2009

The Black Experience
The issue of race in the United States is a deeply complex morass of
political, economic, psychological and cultural impressions all tangled
together by a history of deep hatred and oppression. Thus, the fact that
an African American man was elected to the presidency in 2008… [read more]

Douglass Garrison Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Research Proposal

Research Proposal  |  15 pages (5,314 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 10


Douglass Garrison

Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison and Abolition

The economic, social and ideological underpinnings of the American southland during the nation's formative decades were provided by the myriad assumptions which enabled the 'peculiar institution' of slavery. A functionality and permissiveness to the system that predisposed the nation's transplanted African population to servitude and obsequiousness was based not simply on… [read more]

Power of Nonviolence Marin Luther King Wrote Thesis

Thesis  |  4 pages (1,207 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 4


¶ … Power of Nonviolence

Marin Luther King wrote that nonviolence was the answer to the crucial political and moral dilemmas of the civil rights era. He understood that man needed to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to them. In retrospect, this statement is true for the plight of African-Americans throughout the civil rights movement. From the days of Homer Plessy to the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States, success has been achieved not through violence but through nonviolent acts that lifted up the character of the man. While violence did erupt in certain situations, it rarely ever solved problems and generally made circumstances worse. The most intelligent of protesters understood this notion and advocated peaceful action.

Homer Plessy is probably one of the first individuals that realized racial inequality was wrong and decided to do something about it, whether or not he suffered for it. In 1890, he deliberately broke a law in Louisiana by boarding a white only railway car. He wanted to challenge segregation on the grounds that it violated his Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. He did not win his case and it would be decades before the ruling was overturned but what we remember about this man is how he challenged the law in a nonviolent way. Plessy was one of many African-American that decided that they had rights like any other American. These people created needs that were met with the establishment of groups. Prior to the 1960s, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Urban League were the two primary associations that worked for civil rights. The NAACP "pushed doggedly to dismantle the legal underpinnings of segregation" (Bailey 911) and it was the first such group to see certain levels of success. While the high court was determining that separate but equal was unconstitutional, individuals were stating their own cause and fighting for their rights in ways that they knew best. They were simply responding to the court's ruling in their daily lives. Rosa Parks is perhaps one of the most famous nonviolent protestors, decided that she would not give up her seat in a whites only section of a city bus. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and "served notice throughout the South that blacks would no longer submit meekly to the absurdities and indignities of segregation" (Bailey 912). Other successful organizations that fought for the rights of African-Americans without advocating violence were the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, whose motto was to "resist without bitterness; to be cursed and not reply; to be beaten and not hit back" (Davidson 1167). Another significant organization to emerge during this time was the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

It should also be noted that African-Americans experienced the effects of violence and tried to steer clear of it whenever possible. Morris states that the lynching of Emmett Till is significant because a "generation of young Blacks who would lead the… [read more]

2008 Presidential Elections - Mccain v. Obama Thesis

Thesis  |  6 pages (2,256 words)
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2008 Presidential Elections - McCain v. Obama

Repeated referral to the recently concluded U.S. Presidential elections as 'historic' seems to be a well-worn cliche, but there is no getting away from the fact that the event was indeed historic. A nation, which was founded on the lofty principles of liberty and equality just over two centuries and a half ago,… [read more]

Historiography of Four Different Authors Works Term Paper

Term Paper  |  10 pages (3,244 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 4


¶ … historiography on four works written by four different authors. Each of these works depicts a time and place in the history of American slavery, and each makes unique and valid points regarding this "peculiar" institution. Each of them uses strong research and writing to make their points, but their points differ greatly and indicate how different people can… [read more]

Heroic Slave by Frederick Douglass Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (717 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


¶ … Heroic Slave by Frederick Douglass. Specifically it will discuss the aspect of how the Virginia tavern represents the nation and the way Douglass' claiming Founding Father status for a black Washington proposes a new or transformed sense of American nationality. In "The Heroic Slave," Madison Washington represents freedom, and fighting for freedom, just as the founding fathers fought for freedom from the tyranny of England. However, it Madison had truly been a founding father, the nation's history probably would have been far different, because slavery would not have been allowed, and the country would not have undergone a Civil War.

Washington is clearly a well-spoken man with ideals and beliefs that he must fight to win. He represents the best of a nation's population, but he also represents the shadowy government organization that sets forth freedom and democracy as a goal, and then allows the institution of slavery to continue and even thrive. If he had truly been a founding father, he, and others like him, would never have allowed the institution of slavery to continue, and he is a constant reminder that the framers of the American Constitution did just that.

In a clever use of illusions, Douglass uses the Virginia tavern to represent the nation. He writes of the tavern, "The house is large, and its style imposing, but time and dissipation, unfailing in their results, have made ineffaceable marks upon it, and it must, in the common course of events, soon be numbered with the things that were" (Douglass). In other words, some of the bright glitter of a new nation has rubbed off the tavern, and now it is showing its true side, something old, decrepit, and out of fashion. The new nation, when first conceived, was shiny and wonderful like the original tavern, and it offered every promise and hope for the future. However, now that the tavern (nation) is getting older, and things for African-Americans have not changed, the nation has lost some of its glitter. So of course, has the tavern, making it representative of the nation and what is happening in the world of government, politics, and society.…… [read more]

Ethnic Studies Racial Injustice and Economic Exploitation Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (1,015 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Ethnicity and Race

Race, Class, and Economics

The Harlem Renaissance today is famed as an age of artistic ferment, an age that gave birth to the career of Paul Robeson and the Cotton Club. It was also an age of political challenges to an American political and economic system that clearly was not 'working' as it should for the African-Americans and working class Americans. These Americans' lives failed to flourish during the Roaring 20s. Later, after the crash of the stock market and the subsequent Great Depression that hit the already precarious lives of Black Americas especially hard, Black citizens looked for different models of economic life, such as communism, to provide a new vision for the future. Blacks were buffeted by economic turmoil more than Whites, were denied the voice of conventional labor union activism, and Black women were often forced to shoulder a double burden as mothers and laborers in an era where women were poorly paid because they were technically not supposed to be working at all.

Early, on, advocates such as Cyril Brigg expressed the philosophy that Black nationalism must not be an ideology of territorial or race liberation alone, as advocated in the 'Back to Africa' movement of Marcus Garvey. Instead it must be an international working class movement of liberation founded upon Marxism and workers' rights -- after all, American Black oppression was founded upon the capitalist needs of the slave trade. The American legislative system had proved a failure in winning Blacks their rights, thus a new system was required, and like Marx's workers, Blacks had nothing to lose but their chains, even less to lose than White workers (hence the greater attraction of more moderate trade unionism for Whites).

The radical Marxism of advocates such as Briggs, as expressed in "What the African Brotherhood Stands for" was in direct contrast with the so-called talented tenth ideology of Langston Hughes, which advocated non-violent African-American mobility through the system of American education, and by claiming the American ideology of infinite class mobility and democratic justice as Black's own (246). Like Marx called upon the working classes of the nations to unite in international struggle, Briggs justified armed Black self-defense, although unlike some Black advocates, Brigg did not see Blacks as uniquely aggrieved, rather Briggs saw Black oppression as part of a larger struggle of international social justice, of all oppressed, marginalized, and impoverished workers denied the ability to better their lot in life through the current system. Thus Briggs felt that Marcus Garvey was misguided in his isolation of the Black cause that did not embrace the class-based nature of Black oppression.

This may sound strange to modern ears, as communism is now synonymous with tyranny. But before Stalin's crimes became widely known, Soviet Russia stood as an ideal for many Blacks, who identified with the 'lower' European classes in this older system of economic oppression. This alliance between European oppression of aliens and Blacks is seen in Claude McCay's essay "Soviet Russia and… [read more]

Rosa Parks Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,189 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 4


Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement in America

Many historians trace the actual origins of beginnings of the American Civil Rights Movement to the brave action of a seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama on December 1, 1955.

It was on his day that Rosa Parks "....refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. "(Rosa Parks Biography: Pioneer of Civil Rights) She was subsequently arrested for the violation of a city ordinance. However this action was to have great symbolic ramifications and her act was seen as a gesture of defiance against a system that many Americans perceived as unjust and discriminatory.

The event is described as follows:

Rosa Parks boarded a city bus and sat with three other blacks in the fifth row, the first row that blacks could occupy. A few stops later, the front four rows were filled with whites, and one white man was left standing. According to law, blacks and whites could not occupy the same row, so the bus driver asked all four of the blacks seated in the fifth row to move. Three complied, but Parks refused. She was arrested.

(The Montgomery Bus Boycott)

This act was to ignite and bring to the surface the results of many years of silence and oppression among minority groups in the country.

In the opinion of one study: "...her lonely act of defiance began a movement that ended legal segregation in America, and made her an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere." (Rosa Parks Biography: Pioneer of Civil Rights)

Of course the American Civil Rights Movement had many other origins and precursors. The peak of the Movement's activities was in the period between 1955 and 1965. One of the aims of the movement was achieved with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed by congress.

During these years there were numerous marches and demonstrations that were to lead to the achievement of the Civil Rights Act. These ranged from the "Montgomery bus boycott to the student-led sit-ins of the 1960s to the huge March on Washington in 1963." (The Civil Rights Movement 1955-1965: Introduction) One of the most well-known events however was the Montgomery Bus Boycott which began on December 1, 1955. "That was the day when the blacks of Montgomery, Alabama, decided that they would boycott the city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted, instead of being relegated to the back when a white boarded." (The Civil Rights Movement 1955-1965: Introduction)

The actions of Parks which led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott also involved the foremost leader of the Civil Rights movement in the country; namely Martin Luther King, jr.

An article on the subject states that at the time of the incident Parks made a number of phone calls to various civil rights activists and as a result, "The Women's Political Council proposed a one-day boycott of the buses." (King and the Civil Rights Movement) King and other leaders were also involved in… [read more]

Emergence of the Civil Rights Term Paper

Term Paper  |  1 pages (473 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


is not only a respected figure, but gives his presence to a national holiday. Yet despite the gains of the previous decades, there still remains an economic and educational gap between Black America and White America that integration through legal or political demonstrations has not been able to heal. Lynching as a common practice has been brought to rest, perhaps, but tensions exist all over the nation between Black Americans and what is often an all-White police force. America appears more integrated today, and laws allow for some methods of historical redress like affirmative action. But the sense that this still remains inadequate, despite the successes of prominent African-Americans on an individual level, has caused many Blacks today to study the more radical, or culturally focused members of the early movement, such as Malcolm X, and to question whether some form of cultural rehabilitation of Black culture is necessary to undo the still-lasting legacy discrimination has wrought. And finally, the example of the failed relief effort of Hurricane Katrina to the largely all Black residents whose neighborhoods were destroyed showed the nation how deep the poverty remains in the nation in many impoverished areas that are segregated in fact, if not in law.

Works Cited

Cozzens, Lisa. "Brown v. Board of Education." African-American

History. http://fledge.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory / early-civilrights/brown.html (25 May 1998).

Cozzens, Lisa. "The Civil Rights Movement 1955-1965." African

American History. http://fledge.watson.org/~lisa / blackhistory/civilrights-55-65 (25 May 1998).… [read more]

Manning Marable in His Book Race Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (1,301 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


Manning Marable

In his book Race, Reform and Rebellion, Manning Marable takes readers on an informative trip back in time to witness the lives of blacks in America from the end of World II to 1982, or what he calls the Second Reconstruction. He then sets the stage for what he calls the Third Reconstruction, or the transfer of power to the working class.

To set a foundation and educate readers, most who are not knowledgeable about this historic period, Marable uses his Prologue to review the First Reconstruction in 1867, where the defeated South was divided into five military districts, and its impact on the black people. Marable notes that some progress was made during this time:

Reconstruction produced major changes in the social status of blacks. The Federal government launched the Freedman's Bureau, which provided food and clothing to millions. The Bureau opened 46 hospitals for blacks across the states. By 1870, its educational institutions claimed one-quarter of a million students and almost 10,000 instructors.

For example, this noted educational enhancement noted above formed the future of several black universities that significantly impacted the black communities of the South's future.

Each of the chapters of Marable's book chronicles a different time period of the black experience. The second chapter, for instance, relates what happened directly after WWII. Blacks were hesitant about what the coming years would bring, considering the ambiguity of President Roosevelt's previous civil rights decisions or lack thereof. Despite the fact that 3 million blacks registered for the war, they still served in segregated military units. Meanwhile, blacks remaining in the U.S. were drafted onto the assembly lines, which raised racial concerns by white workers. In the 1940s, blacks made inroads into state and federal governments with elections and appointments. Education also improved considerably, as did labor with the median income of nonwhite wage- and salary-earners rising from 41 to 60%. In addition, the black voter was no longer being taken for granted. Politically, new biracial groups were being formed, such as the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which relied on non-violent means for change.

However, by the 1950s, progress toward civil rights was slowing down, as voting numbers peaked and vigilantism increased. CORE collapsed due to its fringe affiliation with socialist groups and the growing Red scare of the Cold War. In 1946, the South became agriculturally mechanized: Many jobs were lost, and larger numbers of blacks moved to the North. As a result, ghettos and unemployment worsened into the mid-1950s. The election of President Eisenhower began setting the stage for what Marable calls the "Second Reconstruction."

At the end of the 1950s, the growing civil rights movement was negatively countered by the lack of support by the Eisenhower administration and labor groups, as well as the increase in white supremacism, "a fever of rebellion and malaise of fear." In addition, the nation saw the rise of such black leaders as Malcolm X and groups as the Nation of Islam.

The Second Reconstruction began in… [read more]

Marcus Garvey Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,326 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


" (Garvey, 26). His argument hinges on the idea that as long as the blacks of the world occupy an inferior position economically and socially, they will continue to be looked down upon by other races as being inherently inferior. Consequently, other racial groups will have no desire to assimilate and will only look to segregate or eradicate the lesser groups. This is a reasonably convincing argument, and it is essential for Garvey to assert that Africans need to rise up and organize.

Yet, before he can officially reach his conclusion, Garvey needs to reconcile the notion that blacks should rise-up with the vision of the pious and peaceful Christian. He does this by quoting Napoleon Bonaparte. "When someone asked him, 'On what side is God?' he replied, 'God is on the side of the strongest battalion.' Napoleon was right." (Garvey, 44). Accordingly, Garvey rests on the opinion that since God created all men equal -- democratic philosophy -- then those who have achieved more power in history were simply those people who adhered to a unifying ideal of God. This, whites and Asians have done, but Africans have not. It is explained, "The difference between the strong and the weak races is that the strong races seem to know themselves; seem to realize and know fully that there is but a link between them and the Creator." (Garvey, 91). Garvey believed that he had identified the new ideal of God, the God of Ethiopia, and that this would carry all Africans to prominence.

Certainly, there are many obstacles inhibiting Garvey's vision of a massive migration to Africa and the establishment of a stable state. One of these stumbling blocks is the oppression of Africans in Africa, and the civil unrest that results. Another is what he sees as the current intellectual movement in America. Garvey sees the solution to the first problem as being analogous to the Europeans' colonization of the Americas; they were able to overrun the natives by sheer numbers. But, he contends that Africans must migrate to Africa with a deliberate and moral state of mind which will enable them to establish a "Negro Empire." (Garvey, 70).

The second problem, as Garvey saw it came from within the African-American community. Yet, the only solution that Garvey saw to this issue was if the other black leaders were converted to his position. "Garvey frequently maligned Du Bois's racially mixed heritage and quipped that NAACP stood for 'National Association for the Advancement of Certain People.' Critics have suggested that Garvey thus needlessly alienated black leaders who might have helped him." (Gale, 2005). Garvey saw many other black leaders as being the mouthpieces of white propaganda, and therefore, more powerful than opinions voiced directly from whites.

Although Amy Jacques Garvey was extraordinarily successful in putting Marcus Garvey's writings together in a coherent manner, his arguments still fail to be utterly compelling. Perhaps this is because the bias of today's readers, unlike Garvey, makes them aware of the successes and… [read more]

Myrdal and De Tocqueville Gunner Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (598 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


Myrdal proposes an insipid removal process, using birth control among other methods to "slowly" remove the African-American population from American soil. His suggestions, however astonishing, might not have been intentionally racist; Myrdal might have simply been acknowledging the cultural and ethnic differences that distinguish African-American from European-American people as de Tocqueville does. De Tocqueville acknowledges "the irreconcilable differences which separate the negro from the European in America." Moreover, he predicted that "the prejudice which repels the negroes seems to increase in proportion as they are emancipated." Myrdal's observations of the Jim Crow-era South attest to the accuracy of de Tocqueville's predictions.

De Tocqueville does not propose so radical a "solution" as Myrdal does, but the two authors do agree in principle. Both authors criticize the dominant white society for creating the conditions that led to rampant racial prejudice and the consequential social effects such as poverty. Moreover, both note that slavery has had a negative impact on the white community as well as the African-American community: "slavery, which is so cruel to the slave, is prejudicial to the master," (de Tocqueville). Myrdal observed the long-term effects of slavery on white and African-American communities in the South, while de Tocqueville witnessed first-hand the scourge of slavery.

Because Myrdal's advice on diminishing the African-American population is distasteful, de Tocqueville's piece is more convincing and more reasonable. Both authors offer a poignant and frank commentary on the failures of American society, failures which reflect the inadequacies in the American secular political system as well as the hypocrisies in American moral culture.… [read more]

Reparation Being Paid to Descendants Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (1,307 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


Yet, it is clear that the voice of the people has yet to be fully herd of the subject and that legal theory has also to be fully analyzed, so we may follow the pattern of the past in our need to give even greater credence to the common belief that reparations must be paid, on purely a psychosocial and emotional level. Yet, reparations are not psychosocial or emotional they are economic and it will be a nearly insurmountable task to put an economic value upon what has been lost. What is the loss of freedom worth? If paid they will be substantially large. The challenge would then become if the decision is made to pay reparations to surviving ancestors of slave how can they be made equitable for so many, which even in large sums become a pittance spread thin.


"The Case for REPARATIONS: Why? How Much? When?." Ebony, August 2000, 70. http://www.questia.com/.

Dugger, William M. "Against Inequality." Journal of Economic Issues 32, no. 2 (1998): 286+. http://www.questia.com/.

Fehrenbacher, Don E. Slavery, Law, and Politics: The Dred Scott Case in Historical Perspective . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.

Ferguson, Karen. "Reconstructing the Dreamland: The Tulsa Riot of 1921, Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation & A Covenant with Color Race and Social Power in Brooklyn." Urban History Review 31, no. 2 (2003): 55+. http://www.questia.com/.

Lyons, Michelle E. "World Conference against Racism: New Avenues for Slavery Reparations?." Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 35, no. 4 (2002): 1235+. http://www.questia.com/.

Reed, K. Terrell. "Sins of the Past: Activists Seek Reparations from U.S. Government and Corporations with Ties to Slavery." Black Enterprise, June 2002, 35+. http://www.questia.com/.

Schedler, George. "Should the Federal Government Pay Reparations for Slavery?." Social Theory and Practice 29, no. 4 (2003): 567+. http://www.questia.com/.

"Slavery Was Theft: We Should Pay." New Statesman, September 10, 2001, 4. http://www.questia.com/.

Spitzer, Ryan Michael. "The African Holocaust: Should Europe Pay Reparations to Africa for Colonialism and Slavery?." Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 35, no. 4 (2002): 1313+. http://www.questia.com/.

http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o& d=5002066627?George Schedler, "Should the Federal Government Pay Reparations for Slavery?," Social Theory and Practice 29, no. 4 (2003) [cited 26 November 2004] [database online]; available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/.

http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o& d=5000765542?K. Terrell Reed, "Sins of the Past: Activists Seek Reparations from U.S. Government and Corporations with Ties to Slavery," Black Enterprise, June 2002, [cited 26 November 2004] [database online]; available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/.

http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o& d=5002066627?George Schedler, "Should the Federal Government Pay Reparations for Slavery?," Social Theory and Practice 29, no. 4 (2003) [cited 26 November 2004] [database online]; available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/.

http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o& d=5000663652?Michelle E. Lyons, "World Conference against Racism: New Avenues for Slavery Reparations?," Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 35, no. 4 (2002) [cited 26 November 2004] [database online]; available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/.

http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o& d=5000663652?Michelle E. Lyons, "World Conference against Racism: New Avenues for Slavery Reparations?," Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 35, no. 4 (2002) [cited 26 November 2004] [database online]; available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/.

http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o& d=5001357733?William M. Dugger, "Against Inequality," Journal of Economic Issues 32, no.… [read more]

Tomorrow / Bright Before Us Term Paper

Term Paper  |  32 pages (8,876 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


In this way Locke emphasizes the hope of the Harlem Renaissance by basing the concept of race on culture and a function of intellect, rather than as a passive result of nature. Thus the Negro transcends the imposed concept of natural inheritence to instead focus on the self-generating concept of cultural inheritance.

It is from this argument that Locke derives… [read more]

Anti-Slavery Movement of "Narrative Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,654 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


.. Slavery soon proved its ability to divest her of these heavenly qualities... Nothing seemed t make her more angry than to see me with a newspaper" (Chapter 7, par. 2). Mrs. Auld is an example of a white American who was greatly influenced by a society dominated by black American aggressors. Another example of the moral abuse that both black and white Americans experience due to slavery is in the example of the overseer Mr. Covey, with whom Douglass served during the latter part of his slavery term. He described Covey as a deeply religious man, but uses his religiosity as a way to 'deceive' people about his "grossest" abuses and cruelty to the slaves. Douglass describes him as man who thinks of himself as an "equal to deceiving the Almighty," while being "devoted to and perpetrating the grossest deceptions" to his slaves (Chap. 10, par. 4). Thus, Douglass effectively illustrates to his readers how slavery can result to such detrimental effects, demoralizing people through their own or other people's influence.

In conclusion, the effects of the slavery movement resulted to numerous damaging effects detrimental to both the lives of black and white Americans in the American society. The slavery movement gave way for the white Americans to exercise all kinds of abuses to the slaves, and the slaves, in return, because they were subjected to suffering, injustice, and inequality, had learned to cope with their suffering by either calling for a radical change or just by simply being contented, immune, and blind to the sufferings that he experiences and witness. Thus, Frederick Douglas' biography and novel serves as a good literary work that argues his position against the practice of black American slavery in America through the use of vivid narrative details and also incorporating some personal, social, and political aspects of the slavery movement as he experienced it in the American society during the 19th century.

Works Cited

Douglass, Frederick. E-text of "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American…… [read more]

Henry Ossawa Tanner's Iconic Painting Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (789 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


¶ … Banjo Lesson

Description and Analysis

The Banjo Lesson uses color and shape to great effect. The light differentiation gives the painting a sense that around the two subjects there is an almost halo effect. It adds a spiritual feel. Light shrouds the shape of the two heads and light is splashed on the floor in a nearly perfect circle, as though there is a shaft of sunlight slicing through a skylight (or from a wood fire?). Light, shape, and the colors bring out dramatically important features of this painting.

The white pitcher contrasts with the darker colors on the old man; the fire illuminates the chair they are sitting on so viewers know the chair is brown. The light on the towels (used as a table cloth) reflect bright light. There is more brightness on the boy than on the old man (the boy is closer to the fire); after all, youth is more vibrant.

The characters are balanced in the middle of the scene, albeit there is slightly more of the room depicted on the right side of the characters than on the left. The shape of the light around the characters' torsos offers an angelic effect. The texture of the floorboards is very realistic, as is the texture of the old man's pants.

Proportionally, viewers see a small room, and the teaching that is going on is taking up perhaps a quarter of the available space. The size of the banjo compared with the boy is dramatic; it is as tall as he is. There is unity; the well-worn texture of the room and the people certainly belong in that room; a sense of humanity is powerful.

Part 2 -- Interpretation

I recall studying U.S. history and delving into the culture of African-Americans -- as slaves, as freemen, as constitutionally protected citizens of the United States, as talented musical, literary and athletic people and as targets for Ku Klux Klan violence. This painting was created in 1893, when black folks were trying to make it the world after slavery. They were being lynched and harassed, but the painting appears as a sweet reminder that notwithstanding Jim Crow and racism, knowledge was being passed on from one generation to another. Music has been a huge part of the African-American culture, and seeing an old black man teaching a young black boy…… [read more]

Reconstruction and Indentured Servants Research Paper

Research Paper  |  5 pages (1,704 words)
Bibliography Sources: 5


Indentured Servants After the Civil War

"The most important less of Reconstruction…is that white workers need to fight for the interests of Black workers -- not simply in the interest of justice, but also because they must do so in order to advance their own cause. A divided class is a defeated class, as the history of Reconstruction so tragically… [read more]

Post-Slavery Documents Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (700 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


This is an idealist position, since Du Bois believes in possibilities that do not yet exist. His viewpoint is an ideal future situation, for which he argues by explaining the current situation faced by black Americans.

Booker T. Washington takes a more realistic approach. Instead of envisioning an idealistic future that is quite far removed from the current situation, the author attempts to use the current situation to reach practical solutions to current problems. Specifically, this means a compromise between two divergent viewpoints (Washington, 1895).

To emphasize his point, Washington uses the imagery of drawing water in order to suggest that both black and white Americans should draw from the pool of citizens around them. He calls not only for reconciliation among the groups, but also for a sense of working together in order to emphasize that both black and white Americans could benefit each other. He claims that the black Americans are willing and able to serve the white community by maintaining en emphasis on menial jobs. In return, he asks for the white community's support in providing basic education and other social benefits to black people (Washington, 1895)

This is a realistic approach, since Washington is focusing on what can best be accomplished in the short-term with the social and intellectual tools available.

The basic problem with this position is that, compromising to keep black Americans in relatively low level employment would create a platform of perpetual social oppression for this population, from which they cannot emerge because of the compromise. In terms of elevating black Americans, I would therefore consider Du Bois' idea as the more effective one.


DuBois, W.E.B. (1903). The Talented Tenth. Retrieved from: http://www.yale.edu/glc/archive/1148.htm

Wasthington, Booker T. (1985). Atlanta Compromise. Modern History Sourcebook. Retrieved from: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1895washington-atlanta.asp… [read more]

YRS Slave Steve Mcqueen's Film Essay

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Bibliography Sources: 1


¶ … YRS Slave

Steve McQueen's film 12 Years a Slave is based on the true story of Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Northrup was a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Therefore, the film points out the extensive and pervasive problem of racism in America. In the so-called "free states," African-Americans were still stripped of all rights and liberties. McQueen also holds back nothing in his visualization of Northrup's journal, which was the basis for the script. A film about slavery in America is inherently a film about racism. Therefore, 12 Years a Slave is about the social institutions and structures that perpetuate inequality and injustice.

When Solomon Northrup was alive, slavery was a state-sanctioned institution. It was a labor economics institution, allowing plantations to maximize profits. A free workforce was taken for granted and became entrenched in the business models of Southern plantations. Therefore, any perceived or actual threat to slavery was a direct threat against Southern businesses and their stakeholders. Northern or "free" stakeholders also had a tacit but vested interest in the success of the plantation economy. It is suggested in the film that corrupt northerners might have played a small part in the fate of Solomon Northrup.

Once Northrup was enslaved, the narrative unfolds to depict the peculiar institution in contradictory terms. Generations of economic gain and prosperity for the whole nation occur because of, not in spite of, institutionalized racism on an unfathomable level. The free workforce could have included disenfranchised and poor whites, but it did not. In the antebellum South and to a lesser degree in the North, blacks were not considered to be people. Women of all races were systematically excluded from economic, political, and social power, too. However, African women suffered a fate far worse.

The brutality of slavery was experienced differently for men and women, with women often the victims not just of…… [read more]

Diversity in Today's Society Research Paper

Research Paper  |  10 pages (3,678 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 5


Blackface: The Use of Whites to Portray Non-Whites in Popular Culture

As cultural norms have evolved, one of the most interesting things that minority groups have done is to reclaim things that have typically been evocative of racial stereotypes and use them for empowerment. There are many examples in popular culture, with perhaps the most obvious and controversial one being… [read more]

Voice of Freedom in Chapter Research Paper

Research Paper  |  6 pages (2,226 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4


How is this reading relevant to the material covered?

The reading is relevant to the material that was covered because it is the continuation of the life of slaves. It is relevant because it shows how having the passion for freedom sparked the will for blacks to be able to survive some perilous times. It is also relevant because it… [read more]

Civil Rights Coming of Age Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,499 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


For example, women are not all poor, and not all persons of color.

Moody spends the bulk of her political activism working exactly how Sitkoff describes the spirit of the movement, as a set of idealistic groups like the NAACP, empowered by influxes of money and power. However much these organizations did for breaking down the legal barriers related to… [read more]

Thoreau, Stowe, Melville and Douglas Essay

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As a child Douglass saw these beatings often, and the memory would stick with him throughout his life. As a young boy he was sent to Baltimore to be a house servant, where he learned to read and write with the assistance of his master's wife. He escaped from slavery in 1838 and went to New York City, where he… [read more]

Gods Children Need Traveling Shoes Essay

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Bibliography Sources: 1


There is also an account of Maya's tragic personal experience of being a mother of a son who was in a horrible car accident. This begins to open up the concept that the cultural differences experienced by African-Americans do have an impact on their healthcare here in the United States and abroad. Maya's son, Guy, was in a terrible accident just after arriving in Ghana. Alone and scared, Maya felt even more helpless than ever before, even back when she was in the United States. She was worried about the type of healthcare that her son would receive and how she would be able to cope with such a tragedy all alone thousands of miles from home. Essentially, her fears were driven by the tainted sense of isolation that she generated while living here in the United States. She thought she would receive the same type of treatment by African doctors, meaning that they would be cold and authoritative to her in her position of need. In the United States, many white doctors had a sense of superiority, and thus only seemed to care the bare minimum for African-American patients at the time Angelou was writing her work in the 1960s. There were also very little black doctors present within the majority of hospitals, especially ones that were in more rural communities, even if these communities had high populations of African-Americans. The feelings that she brought with her to Africa had challenged my own view of the American healthcare system. I want to believe so bad that in healthcare, race is not a determining factor, and that all patients are seen and treated equally no matter their cultural or ethnic identity. However, listening to Maya's fears, I did not find them unfounded. She had reasons for her feelings. I believed her especially because of the time setting of the work, and hope that the situation has changed drastically here in the United States since then.

Still, Angelou was surprised to see a much more intimate and devoted style of care for her son. The workers at the hospital did not see her race, and treated her and her son without having racial stereotypes in the back of their minds that may have impacted the overall strategies of care that they executed for Guy. Rather than isolating her because of her race, hospital workers embraced her and gave her strong emotional support during a very vulnerable time. There is the notable example of Efua, who offered emotional support to a very worried and distraught Maya. This has important implications for the type of care that should be being practiced today in the United States. Not only does the actual healthcare strategy need to be devoid of any racial stereotypes, there needs to be a greater wealth of support resources for African-Americans struggling to get by in the healthcare system. U.S. healthcare agencies need a more diverse population of nurses and social workers that can provide support from a similar cultural and… [read more]

Malcolm X Learning to Read Thesis

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These groups faced social economic barriers at that time in achieving such goals. In the case of Malcolm X, the fifties and the sixties were difficult times for African-Americans. It was at the height of racial segregation and few African-American showed concern for education. At this time in the history of the African-American history, they were subjected to unfavorable conditions unlikely to motivate any of them to obtain such success. Nevertheless, he found inner motivation to help him succeed in reading and writing, which became a vital avenue in acquiring knowledge about the history and the then social, political and economical state of the African-American. It was his greatest tool in the fight against racial segregation. Similarly, Richard Rodriguez in his story tells his parents of his teachers comment about his accent, suggesting that his Mexican background had an influence on his life.

Despite the fact that the two stories have much in common, they slightly differ. Richard Rodriguez in his quest was young and it was quite normal for someone his age to do just that. Despite facing several difficulties along the way, there was nothing extra-ordinary about a young man going to school and succeeding through all the stages. On the other hand, Malcolm X was an adult when he began his quest. Most people at his age had already attained college degrees. In fact, Malcolm comments that anyone would think that he had a degree only to find out that he had self-educated himself. The story told by Malcolm X is intriguing because he learnt in his adult life what he ought to have learnt in his childhood.

The two stories highlighting the educational achievements of Malcolm X and Richard Rodriguez are an inspiration to many in different pursuits in life. It is a show of great courage and determination in the face of barriers. In addition, the two stories are classic examples of how people can rise from unfavorable backgrounds to achieve success…… [read more]

Jefferson Davis Views Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (2,043 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4


Hall, 360. Boston: University of Massuchusetts, 1996.] [7: Gundaker, Grey. "Africans Americans, Print, and Practice." In An Extensive Republic: Print, Culture, and Society in the New Nation, 1790-1840, by Robert A. Gross and Mary Kelley, 483-495. North Carolina: UNC Press Books, 2010.]

Even though this was not obvious at the time, Jefferson was oblivious, and ignorant in thinking that the Blacks needed protection from the environment and the best way to this was slavery. In fact it was his actions, in retrospect that increased the dependence of slaves on their masters, and did not expose them to the environment in a manner required to live of their own free will. Moreover, in his quest that the Blacks should not be ruled by White Law, he was considering White Law as irrevocable and as a doctrine that would not be able to uphold. In fact he was looking at justifications for his own ideology, which even though, unintentional was one which was not good for the benefit for the Black community.

His war message too is indicative of the fact that he considered the revolt of the slaves as something that was:

"Fanatical organizations, supplied with money by voluntary subscriptions, were assiduously engaged in exciting among the slaves a spirit of discontent and revolt. Means were furnished for their escape from their owners and agents secretly employed to entice them to abscond."[footnoteRef:8] [8: Spartacus Educational ]

He was correct to the extent that in following years, the years that preceded the Civil Rights Movements there were many atrocities that were carried out. But that was the only extent to which Davis was correct in his synopsis of what the future held for the Blacks. It was exposure to the elements that the Black Community realized that they were being wronged even by the legal system and therefore sought to gain education and fight their battle legally. Once the Brown vs. The Board of education battle was won the road to success became clearer for the oppressed community. This then led to the elimination of the separate but equal doctrine. An event that Jefferson could not comprehend in light of his restrictive doctrine, that supposed that the Blacks were a weaker race.

Jefferson's views were indicative of the mentality of those times. However he did not live up to the changes that time had wrought in the thinking of the slaves who, after years of oppression were looking for freedom that would help them live their lives of their own accord. Jefferson had no right to their lives, and neither did other slave owners. It was the simmering need for freedom and to live on their own accord that helped the Blacks.

Works Cited

DeLombard, Jeanine Mary. "African-American Cultures of Print." In Cultures of Print, by David D. Hall, 360. Boston: University of Massuchusetts, 1996.

Fleming, Walter L. "Jefferson Davis, the Negroes and the Negro Problem." The Sewanee Review 16, no. 4 (October 1908): 407-427.

Gundaker, Grey. "Africans Americans, Print, and Practice."… [read more]

Harlem Renaissance: Artistic Movement or Political Statement Research Paper

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Bibliography Sources: 4


Harlem Renaissance: Artistic Movement or Political Statement

Although the genesis and the influence of the Harlem Renaissance is well-understood, the driving motives and goals behind the movement are more controversial. Some believe the Harlem Renaissance was an early expression of Black political struggle. Others believe that it was purely an artistic and cultural movement, just like the Beats of the 60's.

The Harlem Renaissance describes the emergence of an artistic community from the shame and repression of their Negro experiences. However, their experiences as negroes, although a crucial condition of the movement, was never the reason for the movement. Rather, the only reason for the movement was the artists' desire to express themselves, making the Harlem Renaissance an indisputably artistic movement, not a political struggle.


The Harlem Renaissance was a period of great cultural flowering in the 1920s and 1930s. It was the product of the profound structural shifts that occurred in American society as a result of Emancipation and Reconstruction. (Kallen, 4). The migration of many talented, ambitious Blacks from the Agricultural South to urban areas such as New York set the conditions for a cultural exchange that would change American culture forever.

As these emigrants acclimated themselves to urban life and improved their socioeconomic circumstances, they availed themselves of the excellent education available in the Northeast. (Kallen, 9). Many were educated in the humanities and entered the world of art and letters. They often outclassed their White peers as writers and commentators on the major issues of the day, such as Socialism or the Great War in Europe.

Of these Northeastern-educated literati, a special handful inherited the talent of the educated Northeastern elite, but not necessarily their tastes, interests, and concerns. These people, growing up in the agricultural South, would write about what was real to them in a manner that was natural to them. (Kallen, 32). Their audience and observers were impressed by their talent but shocked by their subject matter, eventually grouping and labeling them as a "Negro-Art" movement, which would later be known as the "Harlem Renaissance."


The Racial Perspective

The pursuit of racial recognition was exemplified by the New Negro Movement. The New Negro Movement was concerned with the rehabilitation of the Negro's image in American society. (Locke, 8). Locke was a philosophy professor and social critic who recognized the unique social trends resulting from the exodus of Blacks out of the still-feudalistic South. These new Blacks took advantage of their new mobility by educating themselves in the arts and humanities. Locke took it upon himself to assume the role of spokesman for these new, educated Blacks, inaugurating the New Negro Movement.

The Colorless Perspective

In response to the initial labeling of this trend as "Negro-Art," skeptical George Schuyler, a journalist and artist in his own right, insisted that it was not. It was not "Negro-Art," Schuyler, insisted, because Art had no categories. (Schuyler, Negro-Art Hokum). Art is art, no matter who is writing it. (Schuyler). Schuyler objected to the labeling of… [read more]

Dance Confiscation and Fusion Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (627 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


Dance Confiscation and Fusion

In this short essay, we will consider the dynamic between confiscation and fusion in the development of modern dance. The author will begin by defining confiscation and how it relates to dance and culture. In the opinion of the author, modern American dance relies heavily upon elements that were "confiscated" (taken) from -non-European dance. We will explore Begin by fusion and how it relates to dance and culture by examining the combination of European and non-European aspects.

We will begin by defining confiscation and how it relates to dance and culture, particularly modern dance. According to Richard A. Rogers in an article in the Howard Journal of Communications, the term confiscation emphasizes the conflicting relationship between cultures (especially between the main and sub-cultures. Confiscation in dance represents the adoption of techniques and influences that are from these outside native culture(s). The fact that modern American dance is circumscribed by and defined so much in the light of non-European influences such as African-American forms is evidence in favor of this proposition. As Rogers further puts it, the colonized peoples are able to have a profound effect upon the culture of the colonizers, especially when they have a cultural void (Rogers, 1998, 6-7).

Dance is frequently a means of communication and there is no exception in dance. Historically, dance has been a critical form of communication in the African-American community. While lacking native cultural influences may be a disadvantage on one hand, it can be tremendously advantageous in terms of development because circumstances force innovation to create new styles and forms. This forces fusion of the two forms in new ways. This type of approach rejects the present politically correct portrayal of muliticulturalism dual to the conflict (ibid.). The term confiscation can be used because African-Americans felt pride that their dance forms were coveted by whites. However, they also feared loss…… [read more]

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Research Paper

Research Paper  |  4 pages (1,209 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


¶ … SNCC

Passion often accompanies protest, as both need each other to survive. Nothing demonstrates this more than the American Civil Rights Movement. Born from struggle, nothing illustrates the strength of the human spirit more than those who actively pursued equality in a hostile environment. All living things start from a small idea and when we look at the fight for civil rights, we can see one of the most important stepping-stones was the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Fighting for change from the bottom up in rural Deep South communities, the SNCC fought for what was right without violence. SNCC efforts inspired individuals on a grassroots level and paved the way for a new wave of protests that would eventually affect change across the country.

The SNCC grew from the energy generated by student protests. Mike Miller recognizes the significance of how the movement began. Because it "emerged from a context of struggle" (Miller), a group of "Mississippi Blacks" paved the way for many other SNCC volunteers and workers. Miller points out how many of them were veterans of World War II and experienced equal treatment while overseas. Upon returning home, they could have easily left the state and relocated in a community that was more open to African-Americans. However, they chose to stay in Mississippi and fight for "democracy in Mississippi as they had fought for it in Europe" (Miller). This initial mindset precipitated a legitimate movement that would make a difference in the lives of thousands of African-Americans. According to Joane Grant, the SNCC's mission statement begins with an assertion on the subject of the "philosophical or religious ideal if nonviolence as the foundation." (Grant 273) and it reiterates that through nonviolence, "courage replaces fear, love transforms hate" (273). The SNCC also held that "love is the central motif of nonviolence" (273). These thoughts are powerful and incredible when we consider the atmosphere in which they were created. They prove the strength and capability of man in even the worst situations. The SNCC began as the result of a movement of sit-ins that sprang up across America in the early 60s, resulting from various inequalities including fair treatment in the public sector to voting rights. According to Laurence Denver, the organization was born at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Momentum from a national movement stirred by four freshmen in North Carolina. Notable leaders of the organization include Diane Nash, Bob Moses and Marion Barry. Shortly after the organization was formed, it became known as the "shock troops of the movement" (Denver 912). The organization was significant in the March on Washington in 1963 as well as the Voter Education Project. With the Voter Education Project, the group was a "massive voter registration drive throughout the Deep South in the face of police harassment, arrests, shootings, bombings, KKK violence, assassinations, and the threat of economic reprisal" (912). The organization also initiated the Mississippi Summer project and Freedom Schools. The group's efforts are significant not only because they… [read more]

Brown v. Board of Education Essay

Essay  |  4 pages (1,368 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 4


On May 14, 1954, he delivered the opinion of the Court, stating that "We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. . ." ("Brown v. Board of Education - 1954,1955").

The Supreme Court, expecting opposition to its ruling, especially in the southern states, did not immediately try to give direction for the implementation of its ruling. It asked the attorney generals of all states with laws permitting segregation in their public schools to submit plans for how to proceed with desegregation. After still more hearings before the Court concerning the matter of desegregation, on May 31, 1955, the Justices handed down a plan for how it was to proceed; desegregation was to proceed with "all deliberate speed." Although it would be many years before all segregated school systems were to be desegregated, Brown and Brown II, as the Courts plan for how to desegregate schools came to be called, were responsible for getting the process underway ("Brown v. Board of Education - 1954,1955").


Thomas Jefferson was a champion of universal education for all citizens, but in the culture in which he wrote, black slaves were not considered citizens. Jefferson saw the institution of slavery as an evil, even though he continued the practice of slave ownership. Jefferson's own contradictory actions toward his slaves were symbolic of the paradox that would describe race relations and equality in education for African-Americans. The nation would have to suffer through a bloody civil war and over one hundred years of racial strife to arrive at a time when a more equitable education could be available to all Americans. (PBS).

Brown v Board of Education set the foundation for the civil rights movement and gave African-American's hope that "separate, but equal" on all fronts would be changed. This ruling signaled the end of segregation in the United States of public places that is mandated by law. However, the nation soon discovered that Congress and the Courts were unable to legislate changes in the attitudes of Americans in respect to race relations.

Once the Brown decision was handed down, the African-American community, along with forward-thinking white Americans, placed sufficient pressure on the legal and political system to bring an end to state-supported segregation in all public facilities. The fight that followed after this ruling is not a pretty one. Many people lost their lives fighting for their rights and opportunities to live free in a completely equal and blended society. The next twenty years brought the Civil Rights Movement, led by Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and sparked riots, assassination, and additional government programs to enforce the Court's decision such as court-ordered busing and affirmative action (Meador).


Certainly, the nation has moved toward the ideals of equality and justice in the public arena, but as seen in the race riots of the 1960s and the civil disturbances in Los Angeles in 1992, some were slow to embrace… [read more]

Public Passions in the Ethics Term Paper

Term Paper  |  9 pages (3,168 words)
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In any case, he was "never, under any conditions, to fight white folks again" (Wright 6)

When analyzing this situation, Wright's idea of himself and how the world worked were instantly changed because of his mother's reaction. Richard felt that his rights were violated, and that a "grave injustice had been done me" (Wright 3). He argued that the cinders… [read more]

Standard Joke About America Term Paper

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Teach-ins offered day- and night-long forums of opinion and ?information about American policy in Southeast Asia. Opposition ?grew to campus recruiting by war-related industries, defense-related ?and -funded research, and campus Reserve Officer Training Corps ?(ROTC). Student protests against these institutions and representatives erupted on countless campuses. Off-campus, students demonstrated in front of the White House and the Pentagon, attempted ?to… [read more]

Martin Luther King, Jr Essay

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This was also evident in "I Have a Dream," where he repeatedly mentions the same phrase of "I have a dream" to emphasize the importance of each and every line he spoke after the statement, that people would "one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" ("I Have a Dream").

The speeches, letters, and sermons delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are still quoted and alluded to today. His contributions to African-American history and fight toward civil rights have led this man to be further honored in the country. Without King's leadership, who knows where the United States would have gone in the way of segregation and racial discrimination. It was through his tireless and gifted speech-giving that produced such leader-qualities in him; qualities that drew audiences nationwide and gave him cause to keep on fighting the good fight.


Barnett, D. (1992). The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Volume I. Magill's Book Reviews, 1. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

King, Martin Luther, Jr. (n.d). Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

King, Martin Luther Jr., (1957, May). Give Us the Ballot. Retrieved from

King, Martin Luther Jr., Initials. (1963, August). I Have a Dream. Retrieved from

Peake, T.R. (2008). My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. Masterplots II: African-American Literature, Revised Edition, 1-3. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Peake, T.R. (2008). The Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. Masterplots II: African-American Literature, Revised Edition, 1-4. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.… [read more]

Slavery in the 19th Century Contributed Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (663 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


Slavery in the 19th century contributed to the well-being and profitability of the South. The South relied heavily on an agrarian culture, initially growing tobacco in the upper South and cultivating rice on the coastal regions. Sugar was cultivated along the Gulf Coast, and much like rice, required extensive attention and labor. As the cultivation of tobacco waned and was replaced by the cultivation of short-staple cotton, demand for slave labor grew in the lower Southern regions.

With the high demand of cotton rising exponentially in the 1840s and 1850s, the prospect of great profitability drew settlers and farmers to the lower South. It is estimated that between 1840 and 1860, hundreds of thousands of slaves were moved from the upper Southern states to the lower states. Slaveholders in the upper South saw an opportunity to profit from the lower South's need for slave labor and sold many slaves to cotton plantations in the lower South.

Slavery in the South was often referred to as a "peculiar institution;" the South was the only area in the Western world, with the exception of Cuba, Brazil, and Puerto Rico, where slavery was still in existence. Though slavery separated blacks from whites, it also allowed slaves to develop a culture and society of their own. Slave codes were meant to dictate how and what slaves were and were not allowed to do such as forbidding slaves from leaving their master's property without permission, to be out after dark, to congregate with other slaves outside of church, to carry firearms, to testify against a white person in court, or to strike a white person in self-defense. These codes forbade whites from teaching slaves how to read or write and did not punish whites if they killed a slave while punishing him or her. The punishments for slaves also varied from master to master though slaves faced the death penalty if they incited revolt, killing, or resisting a white person. The living conditions of slaves also…… [read more]

Speech to the Young Research Paper

Research Paper  |  8 pages (3,061 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


All of this began to seem more self-destructive and nihilistic than revolutionary, and it got worse in the decades ahead. This was an era of urban riots and rebellion in cities like Newark and Detroit in 1967, followed by the assassination of Martin Luther King a year later, which led to rioting in over 100 cities and caused Washington, DC… [read more]

Terror of Jim Crow Research Paper

Research Paper  |  6 pages (2,247 words)
Bibliography Sources: 5


Jim Crow

The terror of Jim Crow

The struggle for equality in America received a near lethal blow through the implementation of Jim Crow laws. The advances made during the reconstruction period were rolled back as States chose to engage widespread racism and discrimination. These discriminatory practices would eventually become solidly established as elements of the social structure. Through the… [read more]

History of the State of Alabama Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,561 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4


History Of Alabama

History of the state of Alabama

The yellow hammer state as popularly known by Americans has a rich history of its inception; it's involvement in civil rights movement, the great politicians from the state, and the pride of a great university. The original inhabitants were Indians also known as 'red Indians', and the name Alabama came from… [read more]

Gordon Parks the Photographer Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (869 words)
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Gordon Parks American Gothic (1942)

The mid-twentieth century saw African-American life undergo tumultuous change. Slaves as they entered the previous century, black Americans were increasingly struggling to achieve pride, identity and a stake in an American that was desperately unequal in its laws and its economy. Photography, film director, musician and artist Gordon Parks would devote his life to documenting this experience through whatever media were at his fingertips. Thus, he would make his presence known to the public, to the art world and to black culture during the 1940s and 1950s, finding himself in the ideal position to bring greater attention to the burgeoning civil rights movement. Indeed, as he documented this movement while it rippled through the South, he himself became a participant. Through his affiliation with such prominent mainstream, white readership-based publications as Vogue and Life, Parks would become a noted social critic. The striking images that permeated his work would bring an understanding to the average American home of the absolute desperation and despair that still faced many black families during this time.

His greatest opportunity to bring this issue into the homes of Americans was through the fellowship received to work as a photographer for the United States Farm Security Administration (FSA). Here, he began a series of photos chronicling the inherency of hardship for African-Americans attempting to survive in the United States. This would lead to what is perhaps Parks' most famous photo. With American Gothic. Washington, D.C., Parks produced what is widely considered the most powerful image in his catalogue. Here, he produced a portrait of a cleaning lady who worked at the FSA named Ella Watson. The 1942 picture would be stunning perhaps most particularly because it would place a black woman in front of the American flag. To the highly polarized racial perspective at the time, this could have been perceived as an extremely inflammatory statement simply for pairing the beloved image of old glory with a stern and exhausted looking black woman.

Moreover, Parks has made a vocal statement by depicting Ella Watson brandishing a mop in one hand and a broom in the other. The statement being made is essentially that the American experience for the African-American is largely one of servitude and humbling subjugation. Even nearly a century removed from the abolition of slavery, this image would go a great distance to suggest that in many cultural contexts, not this least of which was our nation's capital, the plight of African-Americans was still extremely dire.

There is also an emotional tenor to the work which suggests a great sympathy for the subject.…… [read more]

Dr. Carter G. Woodson Research Paper

Research Paper  |  2 pages (709 words)
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Dr. Carter Woodson

Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson lived from 1875 to 1950. His home in Washington, D.C. -- where he resided between 1922 until his death -- is preserved by the National Park Service as an historic place in America. Woodson is very well-known as the "Father of Black History" but not everyone is familiar with his entire life's history.

Woodson was the son of slaves but he insisted on pursuing his education in order to help other African-Americans. He graduated from high school in Virginia -- although he didn't begin his formal education until the age of 20 -- and he went on to achieve a Bachelor's degree from Berea College (in Kentucky) in 1897 and was awarded an A.B. (Bachelor of Arts) and a Master's degree from the University of Chicago. In fact Woodson was the second African-American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. The first African-American to accomplish that was the iconic W.E.B. DuBois.

The reason he did not begin attending formal school classes until the age of 20, according to the National Park Service is that he was denied entrance to public schools in Canton, Virginia, and had to wait to attend school in Huntington, West Virginia. Some time later, in 1915, Woodson founded The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and still later he founded The Associated Publishers -- in order that African-American intellectuals and writers would have a respected outlet for their scholarship. The Association later became known as The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH).

Under Woodson's guidance, ASALH launched the "Negro History Week" in February, to mark the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's birthday is February 12 and Douglass' birthday is believed to be on the 14th of February. Today, Negro History Week has been expanded to become Black History Month; hence the credit is given to Woodson for being the founder of Black History Month because he started Negro History Week.

Woodson used his degrees to teach for a brief time, teaching in the Philippines, at Howard University and West Virginia State College.…… [read more]

Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896 Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (662 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

Separate and not equal: Homer Plessy, the first 'Rosa Parks'

On June 7, 1892, a thirty-year-old shoemaker by the name of Homer Plessy engaged in an act of deliberate, radical civil disobedience: he sat down on a train. By birth, Plessy was considered one-eighths black and seven-eighths white. While Plessy appeared Caucasian to most observers, he was considered black under Louisiana law (Pilgrim 2000). Plessy undertook his act of civil disobedience because of the urging of by two groups fighting racism, Comite des Citoyens and the black newspaper, the Crusader. By sitting in the 'whites only' rail car of the east Louisiana Railroad he broke the so-called 'Jim Crow' laws of his state and created the foundation for a legal case that would eventually make its way to the United States Supreme Court and have repercussions that would affect African-Americans for nearly a century.

Plessy, much like Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks, had committed a crime simply by behaving like the white individuals around him. Like Parks, Plessy's action was calculated to use the legal system to overturn the racist legislation that was swiftly relegating African-Americans to the status of second-class citizens within the post-Reconstruction South. Plessy and his defenders argued that the so-called 'separate but equal' provisions separating whites and blacks from co-mingling on train cars violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished the institution of slavery; the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause mandated that states provide equal protection to all individuals within their jurisdiction.

However, the Louisiana Supreme Court judge presiding over the Plessy case, John Howard Ferguson, ruled that Louisiana had the right to regulate railroad companies as long as they operated within state boundaries and were thus not subject to federal interstate commerce laws (Cozzens 1995). The United States Supreme Court was even more explicit in its findings in favor of the state and 'separate but equal legislation': "Laws permitting, and even requiring (the separation of…… [read more]

Martin Luther King's Contribution to the Civil Research Paper

Research Paper  |  6 pages (1,598 words)
Bibliography Sources: 5


¶ … Martin Luther King's contribution to the Civil Rights movement.

Martin Luther King Junior's contribution to the Civil Rights movement was considerable. He was an important figurehead for the movement and his doctrine of non-violent protest helped attract much needed white support for the movement. His communication skills were also a tremendous contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. The… [read more]

Democratic Nomination of Obama for President Research Paper

Research Paper  |  21 pages (7,199 words)
Bibliography Sources: 10


2008 Democratic Presidential Primary -- Clinton vs. Obama

Why -- and when -- did Obama decide to make a run for the White House? Did he believe his chances were good -- or was he just setting the table for a future run?

"…I have chosen a life with a ridiculous schedule, a life that requires me to be gone… [read more]

Abolition Movement Research Proposal

Research Proposal  |  6 pages (2,158 words)
Style: Chicago  |  Bibliography Sources: 5


¶ … abolitionist movement in American and when did it take place? For many Americans who are only vaguely knowledgeable about the abolitionist movement before and around the time of the Civil War, they may believe that is was a few Caucasians who offered hiding places for runaway slaves. In part, that is true. But according to Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian Steven… [read more]

Black Teachers in the John Crow South Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (848 words)
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¶ … Education and also Being a Negro…Seems…Tragic: Black Teachers in the Jim Crow South," Adam Fairclough traces the history of African-American education since the Civil War. According to Fairclough, black educators played a major role in the education and empowerment of African-Americans. The journey from illiteracy to political empowerment was not easy and was riddled with setbacks. However, Fairclough's thesis is that education for blacks by blacks was crucial to remedying the effects of generations of enslavement.

The primary purpose of Fairclough's research is to counterbalance the "overemphasis on of previous historians on the work of northern white missionaries," (p. 66). To prove the thesis, Fairclough gathers evidence from primary sources and recorded historical data. For example, Fairclough notes that by 1862, several blacks were teaching in Union-occupied Virginia. After the end of the Civil War, Savannah would at some point have more black teachers than white teachers. Fairclough cites specific historical examples and references to particular people integral to black empowerment such as the people who become community leaders, educators, and politicians. Finally, Fairclough relies on empirical evidence including survey data. On page 81, Fairclough mentions a 1930 survey of 250 students at Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina. The survey showed that not one African-American student wanted a career in agriculture. Fairclough cites the survey to substantiate the point that Booker T. Washington's proposal of "industrial education" and the proposed rural education of southern blacks only upheld white supremacy.

However, Fairclough argues that even the mediocre programs of Booker T. Washington led to an eventual betterment of the black community. Fairclough argues the following three points in "Being in the Field of Education and Also Being a Negro." First, Fairclough claims that the southern black community took education seriously as a means to eradicate poverty and social oppression. Second, Fairclough claims that white supremacy and institutionalized racism continued to thwart the education of African-Americans in the south. Third, black education and all-black schools represent a controversial and ambiguous lineage in the American education system. Ultimately, though, Fairclough contends that in spite of these setbacks, education became a crucial component in promoting civil rights.

Immediately after the Civil War, education was viewed as a panacea to the problems plaguing the southern black community. According to the author, African-American educators brought "missionary fervor" to their work in the nineteenth century (p. 65). Education was always recognized as being an important tool for empowerment, a key to overcoming oppression and eradicating poverty. Blacks also preferred teachers of their own race over whites. Therefore, white…… [read more]

Web DuBois Outline of Critique Essay

Essay  |  4 pages (1,826 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


DuBois stresses that there are many who criticize Washington's capitulation, but that he chooses not to, because there is danger in silence; "But the hushing of the criticism of honest opponents is a dangerous thing. It leads some of the best of the critics to unfortunate silence and paralysis of effort, and others to burst into speech so passionately and intemperately as to lose listeners." (DuBois 124) DuBois, stresses that he and other opponents of Washington's policies and ideologies would like to see the silence end and the cry for and allowance of three essential things, for Blacks, in America "1. The right to vote. 2. Civic equality. And 3. The education of youth according to ability." (DuBois 128)


DuBois work The Souls of Black Folk is a fundamental document that should be read and understood by all who have any interest in black history and the way in which this history is portrayed. DuBois, unlike many mainline thinkers is demonstrative of a strong, educated black man worthy of praise and capable of intellectual musings regarding a whole group of people who were fundamentally silenced for most of their history in this nation. The use of the spiritual aspect as the thematic source of the work is also an essential strength, as even though many of DuBois' words are wholly secular in nature the ideologies that he attests to should have a firm place in the spiritual character of hope, hope for change and hope for voice.

Works Cited

Denton, Virginia Lantz. Booker T. Washington and the Adult Education Movement. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1993.

DuBois, W.E.B. "The Souls of Black Folk" in Sundquist, Eric J., ed. The Oxford W.E.B. Du Bois Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Sundquist, Eric J., ed. The Oxford W.E.B. Du Bois Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.… [read more]

Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries Essay

Essay  |  4 pages (1,409 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 3


¶ … Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America, by Ira Berlin. Specifically it will discuss Berlin's de-emphasizing the horrors of slavery. Berlin does seem to de-emphasize the horrors of slavery. In his Prologue he writes, "Although the playing field was never level, the master-slave relationship was nevertheless subject to continual negotiation [...] for while slaveowners… [read more]

Martin Luther King's Non-Violent Protesting Tactics First Essay

Essay  |  1 pages (312 words)
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First of all, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., assassinated on
April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, drew most of his inspiration for non-
violent protests from the life of Mahatmas Ghandi of India who like King
was also assassinated and from the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in
the New Testament. As a non-violent protester against American segregation
and racism, King consistently advocated and practiced the doctrine of non-
violence in the pursuit of his objectives and was deeply committed
philosophically to the ideals of non-violent protest. Two examples related
to King's non-violent protest tactics were the Montgomery, Alabama, bus
boycott in 1955 and the non-violent protests in Birmingham, Alabama,
related to ending this city's civil policies on segregation and economic
discrimination. Clearly, King's non-violent methods did in the end help to
achieve his overall goals to end segregation and racial discrimination in
the American South which obviously…… [read more]

Civil Rights in the Gilded Age 1940s 50s and the 1960s Thesis

Thesis  |  4 pages (1,590 words)
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Civil Rights in the Gilded Age, 1940s/50s and the 1960s

Civil rights in the Gilded Age, 1940s to the 1950s and the 1960s

Plessy vs. Ferguson and Brown vs. Board of Education stand on two opposing sides of an era in the United States that lasted from the end of Reconstruction to the beginning of the modern Civil Rights movement.… [read more]

Temper Lynn Dumenil, Modem Temper: American Culture Essay

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Bibliography Sources: 0


¶ … Temper

Lynn Dumenil, Modem Temper: American Culture and Society in the 1920s. (New York: Hill and Wang. 1995).

The "Jazz Age" is often portrayed as an era of great decadence, which rapidly came to an end with the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression. In this conventional conception of the age of Fitzgerald's the… [read more]

Three Negro Classics Essay

Essay  |  4 pages (1,342 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


¶ … Up From Slavery" by Booker T. Washington and "The Souls of Black Folk" by W.E.B. DuBois in the book "Three Negro Classics." Specifically it will analyze the readings and explain the author's main arguments. These three classic works from black authors represent some of the finest writings on the perils and horrors of slavery and the black experience at the turn of the 20th century. They also represent some of the best writings on civil rights and equality, which would not come into being until the 1960s.

In "Up From Slavery," Booker T. Washington discusses his life and his work as one of the most influential black men of the 20th century. He wrote the book in 1901, and his main argument throughout the book is that anyone can make something of themselves if they only work hard at overcoming obstacles. Midway through the book he writes, "Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work" (Washington 130), and his life story bears this out. He worked extremely hard to create schools and trade schools for blacks, and he became known as a champion of education and educational reform. He holds these arguments throughout this book, and makes the reader understand how important it was to establish educational guidelines at a time when blacks were suffering in society.

Throughout the book, Washington talks about what he has learned and what makes a strong leader and person. He writes, "I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed" (Washington 50). He always talks about obstacles and overcoming them, which is another important theme of his work. He himself overcame incredible obstacles to gain and education and then become an educator himself, and he expected other black people to do the same thing to better themselves. That is another reason he wrote this book, so he could inspire others to do the things he did. He was an inspiration to many, and his words throughout this book are still inspiring to read. He received many honors, making him more visible to whites and blacks alike, and that helped bring more people together in the common bond of educational reform.

Late in the book he writes, "During the next half-century and more, my race must continue passing through the severe American crucible. We are to be tested in our patience, our forbearance, our perseverance, our power to endure wrong, to withstand temptations, to economize, to acquire and use skill […]" (Washington 192). Again, he is attempting to inspire his readers and to inform them, as well. His purpose is quite clear. He wants the way blacks are treated to change, but he believes that black people themselves are the only ones that can make sure that happens. His argument is extremely persuasive and compelling, and his book is interesting, informative,… [read more]

Barack Obama Dreams From My Father Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,326 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


¶ … Barack Obama. Obama's feelings about his black heritage and his white family are discussed. His reasons for running for president, and what his election would mean for the United States are also reviewed. Obama's election as president would signal an important watershed in race relations and political policy in the United States.

What does Obama think about being black?

Obama's thoughts on being black are revealed in his autobiography, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. In Dreams from my Father, Obama describes his life up to the time he enters Harvard Law School.

Obama was born to a black father, Harvard University-educated economist Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., of Kenya, and a white mother, Ann Dunham. His parents divorced when he was four, and his mother married Indonesian Lolo Seotorio. His new family moved from Hawaii to Jakarta, Indonesia, where he lived until he was ten. His birth father was absent for most of his young life. Barack Obama moved back to Hawaii when he was ten, and saw his father for the last time before his father was killed in a car accident in 1982. He went on to enroll in Occidental College, and later transferred to Columbia College at Columbia University.

After college, he moved to Chicago, where he worked with the Altgeld Gardens housing project, where he worked to organize African-Americans to get funding for projects to improve their quality of life. He travels to Kenya to visit his relatives, where he has an epiphany about his father's role in his life, and his own biracial nature (Obama).

During this early period of his life, Obama struggles to understand how his mixed race impacts his life, and his interactions with the rest of the world. As a minority student, Obama encountered racism in his early school days, as well as in college. During his early life, Obama goes through a period of introspection about his biracial nature. He goes through a rebellious period of partying and drug use in college.

Ultimately, Obama cannot reject the white side of his nature. In Dreams from my Father, Obama writes, "I knew as well that traveling down the road to self-respect my own white blood would never recede into mere abstraction. I was left to wonder what else I would be severing if and when I left my mother at some uncharted border."

Obama has often seemed puzzled by the ongoing suggestion that he may not be "black enough" for black voters. In 2007, Obama told a meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists that the question of being "black enough" is not really a discussion of the color of his skin or even his record on issues that appeal to black voters. Noted Obama, "we're still locked in this notion that if you appeal to white folks then there must be something wrong" (Payne).

Ultimately, Barack Obama seems to see himself as biracial. He recognizes that much of America sees him as a… [read more]

Biomedical Ethics Term Paper

Term Paper  |  8 pages (2,418 words)
Style: APA  |  Bibliography Sources: 5


Unequal Power Relations: Biomedical Ethics, Black and White

One's membership in a racial, ethic, religious, or cultural group can easily determine one's place in society, particularly if the group to which one belongs is not considered to be representative of the majority national culture. The United States has long prided itself on being the home of the free and of… [read more]

Herman Melville Benito Cereno Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (712 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 4


Benito Cereno

From an historical perspective, "Benito Cereno" written by Herman Melville in 1855, is based on a true story found in Captain Amasa Delano's travel narrative and published in 1817. The third-person narrative relates the story of an encounter at sea, near Chile, between Captain Delano and San Dominick ship captain Benito Cereno. There are those scholars who believe that Melville is being too forgiving of slavery and how the blacks were treated. However, from a thematic perspective, this short story does show the appalling consequences of slavery and bigotry in maritime transportation during this time. With the Civil War so close in the future, it was also Melville's warning to the U.S. that such an event could happen in the U.S. (Karcher)

Delano's reveals his own racism from the moment he comes aboard the San Dominick and considers the "noisy indocility" of the blacks and other "peculiarities of captain and crew." He sees four strange happenings: First, the Spanish lad assaulted with a knife by the slave boy, which was winked at by Don Benito. Second, the tyranny in Don Benito's treatment of Atufal, the black; "as if a child should lead a bull of the Nile by the ring in his nose." Third, the trampling of the sailor by the two Negroes without any scolding, and fourth, the cringing submission to their master of all the ship's underlings, mostly blacks. He especially envisions the mental inferiority of San Dominick's Negroes, whom he considers "too stupid" to have established such a "design" on the "whites," who "by nature were the shrewder race" (Andrews). In fact, Delano is so biased that he cannot imagine how any blacks could possibly be in a position of power. His racism actually makes him blind to the reality around him: It was not the whites who were in charge, but the slaves who had revolted. They were being led by Babo and Atufal, who killed most of the Spanish crew and took control of the ship. They forced Cereno to sail toward Senegal, where they planned to escape.

Although Delano finds blacks "fun-loving" individuals who like bright colors and…… [read more]

Caucasia - Danzy Senna the Historical Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,338 words)
Bibliography Sources: 5


Caucasia - Danzy Senna

The historical and social context of the novel Caucasia, by Danzy Senna, is the 1970s in America. The period of the 1970s is marked as one of the most tumultuous in the history of the nation for several reasons not the least of which the civil rights movement backlash, where those who fought for advances in civil right sin the 1960s realized that much of the changes that had occurred were legalistic only, and therefore would require significant work to address the more subtle forms of racism and sexism that existed as well as the backlash of those who believed that the civil rights movement had already gone far enough and needed to be stopped. (Willie 186) Both factions had moderate as well as fanatic wings and the civil rights organization that stands out most in the fanatic wing is the Black Panthers. The Black Panthers were a part of a larger Black Power movement that was in many ways inspired by the ideology of Malcolm X, who believed that racism was domestic colonialism and that black people were responsible for their own growth out of the stigma of it even if that meant violence.

Bayes 46) the Black Panthers were in a period of transition during the 1970s in which they began to become more mainstream in their desires, rather than utilizing violence and dissention to try to change the racial cast system in the U.S.

The Black Panther Party, however, was plagued by internal dissension and demoralized by the continuing toll inflicted on Panther members by police raids, arrests, trials, and prison sentences. By late 1971, Huey Newton admitted that "the Party was very wrong to think that it could change the police forces in the way we tried to do it.All we got was a war and a lot of bloodshed." 64 the Party had in its political activities moved away from the Black community. To become more effective, Newton argued, the Party had to return to the community and listen to the desires and needs of Black people. Throughout the 1970s, the Black Panthers continued to work for reform of the courts, juries, and prisons. They continued to speak out against police brutality and mounted campaigns against the Bakke and Watson cases which tested "reverse discrimination" in admission programs and in job opportunities. The Panthers also expanded their interest in international liberation movements in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A sympathetic concern with the antinuclear movement was also a part of the Panther program in the late 1970s. 65 (Bayes 53)

It is believable that the characters within the work Caucasia were part of an earlier more illicit movement and the running of Birdie's mother (Sandy Lee) was as a result of fear of reprisal for her illegal activism (gun running) with the Black Panthers. The nation as a whole was also in a period of transition, having lived through the conservative 1950s, the rebellious 1960s and now the reforming 1970s, it… [read more]

Justice Delayed, Justice Denied: Constance Curry's Silver Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (1,094 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Justice Delayed, Justice Denied: Constance Curry's Silver Rights And Tim Tyson's Blood Done Sign My Name

Both the nonfiction narratives of Constance Curry's Silver Rights and Tim Tyson's Blood Done Sign My Name are tales of mob violence and hatred. But Curry's story is a tale about the ability of the human spirit to overcome negative forces of racism and mistrust. Tyson's tale is a story of how violence begets violence. Both stories are unsentimental in that they show how racism can foster violence, although in the case of Silver Rights, the determination of the Carter family to ensure that their children receive the best education possible, as entitled to their children by law, ultimately makes the tale a triumph. In the case of Blood Done Sign My Name, the determination of the author to research a long-standing crime, becomes a tragic tale of how South Carolinian blacks, long socially and legally oppressed, eventually used street violence to ensure that the violence done unto them was punished.

Silver Rights specifically grapples with the complicity of the state's legal system in African-American disenfranchisement. When Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted as part of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 it prohibited "discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance" and its implications for student education were profound ("Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 2007, U.S. Department of Justice Website). In an attempt to circumvent the strictures of the federal law, the state government of Mississippi passed a "Freedom of Choice" law. To keep de facto if not de jure segregation county officials in Mississippi asked parents to "sign papers designating which schools they wanted their children to attend...The Carters were the only African-American parents in Sunflower County who dared to choose the white schools of the Mississippi Delta," which happened to be the best local schools in the state ("Silver Rights Book Tour Begins in Clarksdale," 1995, the Southern Register).

For Curry, a white Quaker activist, the decision of the Carters embodies what she calls the Silver Rights movement. The movement gets its title from the fact uneducated blacks over misheard 'civil rights' as silver rights. Bertha Mae and Matthew Carter were sharecroppers, possessed no economic opportunities or education, yet they were determined that their children would get their 'civil rights' or silver rights, in the form of economic mobility through education. "Eventually, seven of the Carter children graduated from the University of Mississippi, including Deborah Carter Smith, who is an accountant in the grants and contracts office at Ole Miss" ("Silver Rights Book Tour Begins in Clarksdale,"1995, the Southern Register).

The words 'silver rights' still exists as a code name for the fusion of economic and political empowerment, or translating political and educational opportunities into upward mobility. When a summit was held on inner-city financial literacy it was described as thus in the Wall Street Journal: "Borrowing a page from the… [read more]

Frederick Douglass Short Biography Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,319 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Frederick Douglass

Short Biography on the Life of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass, born a slave, was the first African-American leader and abolitionist in American history (McElrath 2007, UXL Newsmakers 2005). He escaped from slavery and became a powerful anti-slavery advocate as well as an advocate for women's rights. These achievements and the various government positions he occupied after the Civil made his one of the most influential figures of the 19th century (McElrath).

Frederick Douglass was born in the eastern shore of Maryland on February 14, 1817, the date of his personal choice (UXL Newsmakers 2005, McElrath 2007). He was named Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey and adopted the family name Douglass later on. His mother was Harriet Bailey, also a slave, with whom he had very little contact and from whom he was eventually separated. Harriet worked in a plantation in Tuckahoe in Maryland, which belonged to Aaron Anthony, who was probably Frederick's father. He grew up with his grandparents until he was 6. Harriet could visit him only occasionally because of the 12-mile journey she had to make each time from the plantation. Frederick was first sent to the Lloyd Plantation until he was sent to live with Hugh and Sophia Auld in Baltimore. Sophia taught him the fundamentals of reading and writing until her husband stopped her. Those first inputs were all he needed to embark on his own. He drew his motivation from what he overheard from Hugh as saying that teaching reading and writing to Blacks would make them lose their value to white men. He realized that the inability to read enslaved the Blacks to white men and that the road to freedom was, therefore, to learn how to read (UXL Newsmakers, McElrath).

His determination to break free from the bondage of slavery led him to take advantage of every chance to learn to read. He learned reading and writing from white playmates and other people in the street, sometimes exchanging the learning with bread (McElrath 2007). In 1838, he impersonated an African-American sailor and escaped to New York (UXL Newsmakers 2005). There, he assumed the new family name, Douglass, and married Ann Murray, a free African-American woman from the South. They lived in New Bedford, Massachusetts where they had several children. At the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society annual convention in 1841, Douglass was so inspired by the anti-slavery speech of William Lloyd Garrison that he delivered his own. He revealed his own experience of slavery as characterized by an extreme want of personal warmth, lack of family attachment, arduous labor and regular scenes of incredible inhumanity at the plantation of Col. Edward Lloyd (UXL Newsmakers). His account was so powerful and eloquent that Garrison prodded him to continue. Douglass speech was so impressive that he was immediately hired as a lecturer by the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society (McElrath). Some students from Harvard were so inspired by Douglass' self-styled, self-taught prose and way of speaking so inspired that they encouraged him to writing his autobiography. His autobiography,… [read more]

Catherine Clinton's Biography "Harriet Tubman: The Road Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,491 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 3


Catherine Clinton's biography "Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom" is considered one of the best and most comprehensive biographies on Harriet Tubman's life. Considered by many to be the American "Black Moses," the story of Harriet Tubman has become more myth than reality in the minds of most Americans. Catherine Clinton is a renowned historian with a special interest in… [read more]

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