Conciliation, Agitation, And Migration: African Americans In The Early Twentieth Century

1326 words - 6 pages

In the earlier part of the twentieth century, black and white Americans had profoundly different views on the future of black people in America. Most white people believed black Americans were an inferior race capable of little more than manual labor and entitled to only the most basic legal rights.
Washington’s speech was very influential to both races. He believed economic acceptance would lead to political and social acceptance. He was labeled as the spokesman for African American by white people. Washington was the operator of the Tuskegee machine. He had supporter as well as he had oppositions. One of his opposers was William Monroe Trotter, he referred to Washington as “the great ...view middle of the document...

They believe “Negro American citizens should protest against the curtailment of their political rights”. They demanded and end to segregation and they appealed for better schools, health care, and housing. This movement attracted four thousand members; it still was no match for the powerful and well financed Tuskegee machine. Washington used every means he had to undermine the movement. He paid black editors to attack du Bois and praise him in the newspapers. He sent spies to the Niagara movement meetings to report on the organization activities and he made it known “if black federal employees joined the movement they will lose their positions”.
In 1908 the movement practically collapsed. With the Niagara movement coming to an end, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) came to life. The NAACP was a militant organization dedicated to racial justice. It was dominated with white leaders, so it was well financed by white contributors. The NAACP was determined that black citizens should enjoy the same rights guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution. Du Bois became the director of publicity and research and edited the NAACP publication, the crisis. The crisis became required reading in many black homes and by 1913 had three thousand subscribers. The NAACP won their first major legal victory in 1915.
Washington became very obsessed with NAACP. He tried to influence the supporter to go against it. All his plans failed and by the time of his death the NAACP had six thousand members and over fifty local branches. Washington strategy of process through conciliation and accommodation was replaced by the campaign for political and civil rights.
The National Association of colored Women (NACW) was formed by two groups coming together. The National Federation of Afro Americans Women and the National Colored Women’s League. The NACW motto was “Lifting as we climb”. They confronted problems encountered in urban areas as rural southerners migrated by the thousands in the twentieth century. They worked to eradicate poverty, racial discrimination and promote education. The members cared for older people, aided orphans, and assisted working mothers by providing nurseries, health care, and established homes for abandoned girls.
The upper class black Americans distanced themselves from the less affluent black and white people. They lived in expensive homes, and were medical doctors, lawyers and businessmen. In 1904 two wealthy physicians formed the Sigma Pi Beta. It was restricted to male college graduates; it provided inspiration, relaxation, intellectual stimulation and brotherhood. Other colleges followed in their footsteps and created their own. Cornell University formed the Alpha Phi Alpha, which was chaptered out to other universities. In 1908 Howard University formed the Alpha Kappa Alpha; they also formed four more organizations of the Greek letters. These fraternities and sororities stressed...

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