Workings of the Sharecropping System, Thesis

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This League advocated the peaceful and friendly expansion and recognition of African-American culture and roots in Africa. It also helped pave the way for more militant African-American advocacy groups that found their way into popular African-American culture and society during the Harlem Renaissance. The Universal African Legion also had affiliate companies and corporations, which gave African-Americans more cultural, economic, and political clout and representation during this time period. Garvey was a crucial figure in the uniting of African-Americans toward the singular goal of improving their cultural and social conditions inside the U.S.

The New Negro movement was an over-arching hopefulness that African-American culture and society could successfully flourish in the post slavery era. Garvey played a major role in helped to culturally establish the African-American agenda of upward social mobility and desegregation (Locke, 1997). The Harlem Renaissance was a movement with limited scope that took place during the 1920's and 1930's and represented an expansion of African-American intellectual life and culture. All three of these topics are linked in that they all helped to legitimize the African-American struggle for cultural independence and recognition.

Cited: Locke, Alain LeRoy. (1997) the New Negro. Touchstone Press: New York, NY.

4. Explain the various ways that the Great Depression and World War II affected African-Americans in the South, North, and West, countryside and the city; analyze their main responses to this economic disaster.

The Great Depression affected everyone in America, not only African-Americans. But this group of people was hit extremely hard by the lack of financial and social resources that resulted from the Great Depression. Those in the city were often ht the hardest, since resources were already tightly squeezed and the large populations made economic relief very hard. In the countryside, African-American had it a little easier, although it was not easy for anyone (Wolters, 1970). Farmers and workers could rely on the land for the sustenance needs, but often found it more difficult to obtain a job since the social networking on the rural areas was less prevalent than those in urban areas. There was another, smaller migration to large cities and urban centers by African-Americans during the Great Depression, mainly to find work and be included in the large African-American community. This further consolidation was positive for them socially, but ended up costing many African-Americans the opportunity to find work elsewhere (Wolters, 1970). African-Americans were at risk of losing the gains they had seen over the past couple of decades through the Harlem Renaissance and other popular black cultural movements. In the south, African-Americans were hit extremely hard. They had fewer large population centers and advocacy groups to help them through the turmoil, and the economic frustration led many southerners to act out more violently and aggressively toward African-Americans in general. In the West, where many white farmers were moving after the Dust Bowl, African-Americans found new cultural support in cities like Los Angeles (Wolters, 1970). They were able to create tight-knit communities and their connections helped with obtaining jobs and social networking and support. These African-American connections and communities exist today in many western cities and states, and have helped their culture take root and hold its ground since.

Franklin Roosevelt's New deal, which came at the deepest part of the Great Depression, gave African-Americans the opportunity to participate in American society in ways that were previously closed to them (Wolters, 1970). The New Deal gave African-Americans the opportunity to work along side whites on infrastructure projects and other important nation building endeavors. African-Americans were able to secure steady jobs, and while some segregation still occurred, much of the work was done alongside their white counterparts. The Works Project Administration, which commissioned Great Depression era artists, poets, and writers also offered much to the African-American cause during this time period. African-American artists and writers were able to gain government grants for their work, which often became nationally renown as part of the legacy of the American struggle during this time period. African-American artists were able to gain national and international recognition and appreciation, creating a new platform for African-American pride and upward social mobility. The WPA also helped to legitimize African-American artists and writers in the eyes of the American public (Wolters, 1970). This helped African-Americans gain social clout and cultural understanding for their struggles during the slavery period all the way through the current issues they faced as a portion of the American population during the Great Depression.

Citation: Wolters, R. (1970) Negroes and the Great Depression: The Problem of Economic Recovery. Greenwood Press:
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5. Explain the philosophy of nonviolence as articulated by Martin Luther King, Jr., and other leaders of the civil rights movement in the context of the Cold War and resurgent Southern segregationism, and evaluate how successful it was as a strategy for in the many struggles that occurred between 1956 and 1966.

King's philosophy on non-violence is often regarded as the over-arching theme of the Civil Rights Movement (Chong, 1991). In order to legitimize the movement itself and its goals, King and others realized that violence could not be a part of their philosophy. If they were to turn violent, King argued (Chong, 1991) it could undermine their ideal for a peaceful and integrated society. King's philosophy of non-violence was to be followed at all costs, regardless if violence was used against African-Americans to discourage participation in such a movement. The U.S. government also saw King and the Civil Rights Movement as a legitimate struggle for racial equality. It would have been very hard for King to actually accomplish his goals had people been fearful of physical violence. In the context of the Cold War, Americans became paranoid of Communism and Senator McCarthy began his with hunts to root out supposed Communists from all corners of American society. This was a time of great fear and instability, and Americans had to live with the fact that nuclear war could be just around the corner. This environment did not lend any help to the cultural plight of African-Americans. White Americans held a political and cultural monopoly against outsiders, particularly African-Americans. The xenophobic attitudes that prevailed during this time period also helped to catalyze the nation to effect real change in the laws and social structures around them.

In many of the struggles in 1955 and 1956, the non-violent philosophy played a pivotal role in helping the Civil Rights Movement gain cultural and social legitimacy and power (Chong, 1991). As southern police officers, National Guard Troops, and attack dogs were set loose to control the crowds and demonstrations, television cameras were there to capture the mayhem. These images, many of which are still famous today, helped to show the average American that the Civil Rights Movement was a legitimate struggle against inequality, and that the racism and segregationalist attitudes found predominantly in the south, were very real and represented a threat to everyone's freedom; not just African-Americans. The struggles faced by African-Americans during the early years of the Civil Rights movement represent some of the most powerful examples of the triumph of non-violence over violent behavior and backlash. Those who bought into the non-violent philosophy, and those who were backing them, felt as though they held the moral high ground in the struggle for equality, and in many ways they were correct. The struggle for equality ended with the Johnson Administration pushed the Civil Rights Bill through Congress in the 1960's (Chong, 1991). This represented a real sea change of policy toward African-Americans and was hailed as one of the greatest accomplishments associated with King and the non-violent sect of the Civil Rights Movement participants. King also helped set a precedent for future equality movements by showing that non-violence does in fact accomplish more than violence, and that by achieving solidarity, a movement can change the legal and political structure of a country as diverse as the U.S.

Cited: Chong, Dennis. (1991). Collective Action and the Civil Rights Movement. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL.

6. Analyze Black Power as a phase of the freedom movement and as a political outlook; explain why it emerged after 1965, how it differed from the civil rights phase of the movement, and its overall impact on African-American life and history in the last four decades of the economic stagnation and political crisis.

The Black Power Movement was a social awakening and push for the realization, primarily by African-Americans, that they needed to be proud of their heritage and culture in order to enact social change and stand up against the status quo. The Black Panthers, who believed in a militant style-takeover or restructuring of American society to include African-Americans, was one of the most militant parts of this movement (Cone, 1997). Unlike Dr. King, those in the Black Power movement were reluctant to believe that non-violence was the correct course for social change. Malcolm X another militant African-American leaders emerged to lead the Militant and Muslim wing of…

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The Black Power Movement emerged as a separate approach to the issues of civil rights and racial inequality. Those who were frustrated with the status quo, and with the slow progress of the non-violent philosophy, were often quick to back the more militant wing of the Black Power Movement. Some African-Americans felt very strongly that in order to change the status quo there needed to be a real physical threat from African-Americans looking to secure their fair share of power and liberty in America (Cone, 1997). Nowhere was this more apparent than with the Black Panther Movement. These people believed that the power that had been stolen by the whites during and after slavery needed to be forcibly taken back. The national response to this movement was one of fear, and many people saw the Black Panther Movement as illegitimated by the violence they so often advocated.

The Black Power slogan enjoyed a multitude of functions. It functioned as a call to arms for the Black Panthers while also helping to solidify black capitalism and intellectual attitudes in America during this time period. Many consider the Black Power movement to be a direct reaction or result of the Civil Rights Movement, and felt as though stressing Black Nationalism and pride at every level was, to a lesser degree, successful in changing the attitudes of Americans toward African-Americans (Cone, 1997). The impact of this movement can still be seen today. The culturally popular and change-affecting "Black is Beautiful' movement came from the Black Power movement, as did many of the cultural, social, and political attitudes that modern day African-Americans hold relative to their perception of their place in society (Cone, 1997). The Black Power movement helped to define "blackness" as a positive identity, instead of something to be ashamed of. It often functioned as a rallying cry for African-Americans caught up in the struggle for cultural equality directly after the Civil Rights Movement.

Cited: Cone, JH. (1997). Black Theology and Black Power. Orbis Books: Maryknoll, NY.

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