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Race, Religion and Prejudice (1942)

Over and over again, I have stressed the rights of every citizen:

Equality before the law.
Equality of education.
Equality to hold a job according to his ability.
Equality of participation through the ballot in the government.Continue Reading »

Abernathy, Ralph D.

Rev. Ralph Abernathy continued to lead SCLC until growing tensions over the direction of the organization forced to his resignation in 1977. Later that year he ran unsuccessfully for Congress. Three years later Abernathy became the most prominent civil rights leader to endorse Ronald Reagan for President.Continue Reading »

Maid Narratives

The stories personalize the sufferings by these southern black women who worked as young children in the cotton fields and who managed somehow to raise their children and protect their men folk in a racially hostile environment. The economic oppression they endured was echoed by legal constraints that always favored the dominant race at their expense. The norms of segregation, as the book explains, were enforced by white men bent on suppressing black men and keeping them away from their women. At the same time, these men had access to black women, a fact of which they often took advantage. The term segregation to the extent that it means separation of the races does not really apply. In any case, the social system that evolved following slavery. Consider the tremendous legal battles that ensued to keep the races separate in the schools and universities.Continue Reading »

The TVA and the Race Problem

When the civil service examinations were first given by the TVA in the twelve counties round about Norris, only 1.9 per cent of those who qualified for jobs were Negroes. In these same twelve counties Negroes comprise exactly 7.1 per cent of the total population. Thus it looked as though colored labor was to suffer. TVA authorities insisted that they were helpless to rectify matters since they were compelled to choose their employees from among the people who had qualified by examination. Negro leaders claimed, however, that the reason so small a proportion of their population had qualified was that they had either not even been told of the examinations or else had been given to understand by the native whites that there was no need for them to apply since the whole project was for the advantage of the white man. There were some facts which lent credibility to this charge. For example, TVA authorities did not, and still do not, plan to use any Negro labor on the building of the Norris Dam itself…. Continue Reading »

Ovington, Mary White

Influenced by the ideas of William Morris, Ovington joined the Republican Party in 1905, but was a self declared Liberal as many Republicans were at that time, where she met people including Daniel De Leon, Asa Philip Randolph, Floyd Dell, Max Eastman and Jack London, who argued that racial problems were as much a matter of class as of race. She wrote for radical journals and newspapers such as The Masses, New York Evening Post and the New York Call. She also worked with Ray Stannard Baker and influenced the content of his book, “Following the Color Line,” published in 1908.Continue Reading »

Niagara Movement (1905-1909)

The Niagara Movement was a civil rights group organized by W.E.B. DuBois and William Monroe Trotter in 1905. After being denied admittance to hotels in Buffalo, New York, the group of 29 business owners, teachers, and clergy who comprised the initial meeting gathered at Niagara Falls, from which the group’s name derives.Continue Reading »

Harlem: Dark Weather-Vane

The Harlem riot of 1935, now the subject of a comprehensive report, demonstrated that “the Negro is not merely the man who shouldn’t be forgotten; he is the man who cannot safely be ignored.” Alain Locke, early interpreter of the New Harlem in a special issue of Survey Graphic, here pictures the Harlem of hard timesContinue Reading »

Suffrage in the South Part II: The One Party System

In a sequel to his study of the poll tax, this young southern writer further analyzes democracy in Dixie. His findings and his conclusions, carefully checked by southern researchers, are especially significant in this year of national elections.Continue Reading »

Suffrage in the South: The Poll Tax

In the South, two thirds of the voting population are barred from the polls by a head tax which is a prerequisite to voting. What this “one third democracy for one sixth of the nation” means to the Democratic party, to the nation, and to the issues of the 1940 elections are revealed in the staggering facts and figures here presented in the first of two articles by a young southern writer.Continue Reading »

Hughes, Langston

Hughes deeply believed that black art should represent the experiences and culture of the black “folk.” Images of rural and urban working-class African Americans filled his poetry and prose and his writing celebrated blues and jazz culture. Some of his more famous writing associated with the Harlem Renaissance include the collections of poems, The Weary Blues (1926) and Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927); the novel Not Without Laughter (1930); and the essay, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” (1926). Continue Reading »

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