African American Leaders Inquiry Based Project
USH2.H.8.4 Analyze multiple perceptions of the “American Dream” in times of prosperity and crisis since Reconstruction.
Student will know:
How African American civil rights leaders of the late 19th Century differed in how to best achieve greater freedom and equality (Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington and “The Atlanta Compromise”, W.E.B. Du Bois and “The Talented Tenth”).
USH2.H.4.1 Analyze the political issues and conflicts that impacted the United States since Reconstruction and the compromises that resulted.
Student will know:
How African Americans were disenfranchised after Reconstruction and subjected to “Jim Crow” segregation laws.
Who had the best plan for African Americans to achieve greater freedom and equality? (Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, or Marcus Garvey)
1. What were the political, economic, educational, and social challenges African Americans faced at the turn of the century?
2. How did Washington’s, Garvey’s, and DuBois’ plans differ?
Teacher Directions: (up to 3 days)
Day 1 – Students identify challenges African Americans faced using the first set of visual sources and organize the information on the graphic organizer. The handout “Declaration of the Rights of the Negro” is an option that could be omitted unless students are unable to find enough information from the visual sources.
Day 2 – Students read the primary sources from the three leaders. Using the guided reading sheet, students attempt to understand the plans that each leader proposed. Primary sources have been edited and some key points have been emphasized with bolding and underlining due to time constraints.
Modifications: The Teacher could divide the class into thirds an assign each group one of the leaders. The teacher could also create small groups of three or four and assign one student in each group a source.
Day 3 – The sources are incapalbe of covering all aspects of each plan. After clarification and more teacher input, students should fully understand the three plans. Students then evaluate the plans and complete the culminating activity that the teacher selects.
A. Using the power of hindsight, craft an original speech that creates an original plan that you believe would best solve the challenges African Americans faced at the turn of the Century.
B. Identify issues that a minority group faces today, and create a speech that addresses your solution to these problems. Identify at least two leaders that have oppossing plans for a minority group today and discuss the merits of each plan.
C. 50/50 Essay and Debate – Students write an essay for the following prompt:
Which African Amerian leader had the best plan for progress in the early 20th Century? Identify important aspects of the plan and explain why this plan was better than the other two.
Class Debate (participation in debate is worth 50 points)
Answer the following two questions in one sentence. Name______________
1. What does the 14th Amendment say?
2. What did the Supreme Court say in the Plessy v. Ferguson case?
Use the following Documents to Identify the answers to the question below. Place your answers in the graphic organizer.
What were the political, economic, educational, and social challenges African Americans faced at the turn of the century?
Excerpt of Fourteenth Amendment
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Majority Opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States – Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896 (excerpt)
The object of the (14th) amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but, in the nature of things, it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political, equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either. Laws permitting, and even requiring, their separation in places where they are liable to be brought into contact do not necessarily imply the inferiority of either race to the other….
We think the enforced separation of the races,….neither abridges the privileges or immunities of the colored man, deprives him of his property without due process of law, nor denies him the equal protection of the laws within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Jury Room from the Movie “Twelve Angry Men”
Segregated School : early – mid 20th Century
NAACP studies of unequal expenditures in the mid-to-late 1920s found that Georgia spent $4.59 per year on each African-American child as opposed to $36.29 on each white child.
There have been 137 black members of Congress ever, according to the U.S. House of Representatives History, Art & Archives database.
Gerrymandering: the dividing of a state, county, etc., into election districts so as to give one political party a majority in many districts while concentrating the voting strength of the other party into as few districts as possible.
Billie Holliday (1939)
Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swingin' in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin' from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulgin' eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burnin' flesh
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop
What were the political, economic, educational, and social challenges African Americans faced at the turn of the century?
Use the primary sources to find evidence about each leaders’ solution in the followoing areas. (All areas may not be addressed by each leader)
Booker T. W.E.B. Marcus
Washington DuBois Garvey
Who had the best plan for African Americans to achieve greater freedom and equality?
Declaration of the Rights of the Negro (abridged)
Drafted and adopted at Convention held in New York, 1920, over which Marcus Garvey presided as Chairman, and at which he was elected Provisional President of Africa.
Be it Resolved, That the Negro people of the world, through their chosen representatives in convention assembled in Liberty Hall, in the City of New York and United States of America, from August 1 to August 31, in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and twenty, protest against the wrongs and injustices they are suffering at the hands of their white brethren, and state what they deem their fair and just rights, as well as the treatment they propose to demand of all men in the future.
I. That nowhere in the world, with few exceptions, are black men accorded equal treatment with white men, although in the same situation and circumstances, but, on the contrary, are discriminated against and denied the common rights due to human beings for no other reason than their race and color.
II. In certain parts of the United States of America our race is denied the right of public trial accorded to other races when accused of crime, but are lynched and burned by mobs, and such brutal and inhuman treatment is even practiced upon our women.
III. That European nations have parceled out among themselves and taken possession of nearly all of the continent of Africa, and the natives are compelled to surrender their lands to aliens and are treated in most instances like slaves.
IV. In the southern portion of the United States of America, although citizens under the Federal Constitution, and in some states almost equal to the whites in population and are qualified land owners and taxpayers, we are, nevertheless, denied all voice in the making and administration of the laws and are taxed without representation by the state governments, and at the same time compelled to do military service in defense of the country.
V. On the public conveyances and common carriers in the Southern portion of the United States we are jim-crowed and compelled to accept separate and inferior accommodations and made to pay the same fare charged for first-class accommodations, and our families are often humiliated and insulted by drunken white men who habitually pass through the jim-crow cars going to the smoking car.
VI. The physicians of our race are denied the right to attend their patients while in the public hospitals of the cities and states where they reside in certain parts of the United States. Our children are forced to attend inferior separate schools for shorter terms than white children, and the public school funds are unequally divided between the white and colored schools.
VII. We are discriminated against and denied an equal chance to earn wages for the support of our families, and in many instances are refused admission into labor unions, and nearly everywhere are paid smaller wages than white men.
VIII. In Civil Service and departmental offices we are everywhere discriminated against and made to feel that to be a black man in Europe, America and the West Indies is equivalent to being an outcast and a leper among the races of men, no matter what the character and attainments of the black man may be.
IX. In the British and other West Indian Islands and colonies, Negroes are secretly and cunningly discriminated against, and denied those fuller rights in government to which white citizens are appointed, nominated and elected.
X. That our people in those parts are forced to work for lower wages than the average standard of white men and are kept in conditions repugnant to good civilized tastes and customs.
XII. Against all such inhuman, unchristian and uncivilized treatment we here and now emphatically protest, and invoke the condemnation of all mankind. In order to encourage our race all over the world and to stimulate it to a higher and grander destiny, we demand and insist on the following Declaration of Rights:
1. Be it known to all men that whereas, all men are created equal and entitled to the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and because of this we, the duly elected representatives of the Negro peoples of the world, invoking the aid of the just and Almighty God do declare all men women and children of our blood throughout the world free citizens, and do claim them as free citizens of Africa, the Motherland of all Negroes.
4. We declare that Negroes, wheresoever they form a community among themselves, should be given the right to elect their own representatives to represent them in legislatures, courts of law, or such institutions as may exercise control over that particular community.
8. We declare taxation without representation unjust and tyrannous, and there should be no obligation on the part of the Negro to obey the levy of a tax by an law-making body from which he is excluded and denied representation on account of his race and color.
9. We believe that any law especially directed against the Negro to his detriment and singling him out because of his race or color is unfair and immoral, and should not be respected.
10. We believe all men entitled to common human respect, and that our race should in no way tolerate any insults that may be interpreted to mean disrespect to our color.
11. We deprecate the use of the term "nigger" as applied to Negroes, and demand that the word "Negro" be written with a capital "N."
12. We believe that the Negro should adopt every means to protect himself against barbarous practices inflicted upon him because of color.
13. We believe in the freedom of Africa for the Negro people of the world, and by the principle of Europe for the Europeans and Asia for the Asiatics; we also demand Africa for the Africans at home and abroad.
16. We believe all men should live in peace one with the other, but when races and nations provoke the ire of other races and nations by attempting to infringe upon their rights, war becomes inevitable, and the attempt in any way to free oneís self or protect oneís rights or heritage becomes justifiable.
17. Whereas, the lynching, by burning, hanging or any other means, of human beings is a barbarous practice, and a shame and disgrace to civilization, we therefore declared any country guilty of such atrocities outside the pale of civilization.
18. We protest against the atrocious crime of whipping, flogging and overworking of the native tribes of Africa and Negroes everywhere. These are methods that should be abolished, and all means should be taken to prevent a continuance of such brutal practices.
19. We protest against the atrocious practice of shaving the heads of Africans, especially of African women or individual of Negro blood, when placed in prison as a punishment for crime by an alien race.
20. We protest against segregated districts, separate public conveyances, industrial discrimination, lynchings and limitations of political privileges of any Negro citizen in any part of the world on account of race, color, or creed, and will exert our full influence and power against all such.
23. We declare it inhuman and unfair to boycott Negroes from industries and labor in any part of the world.
24. We believe in the doctrine of the freedom of the press, and we therefore emphatically protest against the suppression Negro newspapers and periodicals in various parts of the world, and call upon Negroes everywhere to employ all available means to prevent such suppression.
26. We hereby protest against the publication of scandalous and inflammatory articles by an alien press tending to create racial strife and the exhibition of picture films showing the Negro as a cannibal.
30. We demand the right of unlimited and unprejudiced education for ourselves and our posterity forever.
31. We declare that the teaching in any school by alien teachers to our boys and girls, that the alien race is superior to the Negro race, is an insult to the Negro people of the world.
37. We hereby demand that the governments of the world recognize our leader and his representatives chosen by the race to look after the welfare of our people under such governments.
38. We demand complete control of our social institutions without interference by any alien race or races.
39. That the colors, Red, Black and Green, be the colors of the Negro race.
40. Resolved, That the anthem "Ethiopia, Thou Land of Our Fathers," etc., shall be the anthem of the Negro race.
41. We believe that any limited liberty which deprives one of the complete rights and prerogatives of full citizenship is but a modified form of slavery.
42. We declare it an injustice to our people and a serious impediment to the health of the race to deny to competent licensed Negro physicians the right to practice in the public hospitals of the communities in which they reside, for no other reason than their race and color.
48. We protest against the practice of drafting Negroes and sending them to war with alien forces without proper training, and demand in all cases that Negro soldiers be given the same training as the aliens.
49. We demand that instructions given Negro children in schools include the subject of "Negro History," to their benefit.
These rights we believe to be justly ours and proper for the protection of the Negro race at large, and because of this belief we, on behalf of the four hundred million Negroes of the world, do pledge herein the sacred blood of the race in defense, and we hereby subscribe our names as a guarantee of the truthfulness and faithfulness hereof in the presence of Almighty God, on the 13th day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and twenty.
Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta “Compromise” Speech (Excerpts)
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Board of Directors and Citizens:
One-third of the population of the South is of the Negro race. ….It is a recognition that will do more to cement the friendship of the two races than any occurrence since the dawn of our freedom.
Not only this, but the opportunity here afforded will awaken among us a new era of industrial progress. Ignorant and inexperienced, it is not strange that in the first years of our new life we began at the top instead of at the bottom; that a seat in Congress or the state legislature was more sought than real estate or industrial skill; that the political convention or stump speaking had more attractions than starting a dairy farm or truck garden.
A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal, “Water, water; we die of thirst!” The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A second time the signal, “Water, water; send us water!” ran up from the distressed vessel, and was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” And a third and fourth signal for water was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River. To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next-door neighbor, I would say: “Cast down your bucket where you are”— cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.
Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man’s chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour, and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.
To those of the white race who look to the incoming of those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits for the prosperity of the South, were I permitted I would repeat what I say to my own race,“Cast down your bucket where you are.” Cast it down among the eight millions of Negroes whose habits you know, whose fidelity and love you have tested in days when to have proved treacherous meant the ruin of your firesides. Cast down your bucket among these people who have, without strikes and labour wars, tilled your fields, cleared your forests, builded your railroads and cities, and brought forth treasures from the bowels of the earth, and helped make possible this magnificent representation of the progress of the South. Casting down your bucket among my people, helping and encouraging them as you are doing on these grounds, and to education of head, hand, and heart, you will find that they will buy your surplus land, make blossom the waste places in your fields, and run your factories. While doing this, you can be sure in the future, as in the past, that you and your families will be surrounded by the most patient, faithful, law-abiding, and unresentful people that the world has seen. As we have proved our loyalty to you in the past, in nursing your children, watching by the sick-bed of your mothers and fathers, and often following them with tear-dimmed eyes to their graves, so in the future, in our humble way, we shall stand by you with a devotion that no foreigner can approach, ready to lay down our lives, if need be, in defense of yours, interlacing our industrial, commercial, civil, and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests of both races one. In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.
There is no defense or security for any of us except in the highest intelligence and development of all. If anywhere there are efforts tending to curtail the fullest growth of the Negro, let these efforts be turned into stimulating, encouraging, and making him the most useful and intelligent citizen. Effort or means so invested will pay a thousand per cent interest. These efforts will be twice blessed—blessing him that gives and him that takes. There is no escape through law of man or God from the inevitable:
The laws of changeless justice bind Oppressor with oppressed;
And close as sin and suffering joined We march to fate abreast...
Nearly sixteen millions of hands will aid you in pulling the load upward, or they will pull against you the load downward. We shall constitute one-third and more of the ignorance and crime of the South, or one-third [of] its intelligence and progress; we shall contribute one-third to the business and industrial prosperity of the South, or we shall prove a veritable body of death, stagnating, depressing, retarding every effort to advance the body politic.
Gentlemen of the Exposition, as we present to you our humble effort at an exhibition of our progress, you must not expect overmuch. Starting thirty years ago with ownership here and there in a few quilts and pumpkins and chickens (gathered from miscellaneous sources), remember the path that has led from these to the inventions and production of agricultural implements, buggies, steam-engines, newspapers, books, statuary, carving, paintings, the management of drug stores and banks, has not been trodden without contact with thorns and thistles. While we take pride in what we exhibit as a result of our independent efforts, we do not for a moment forget that our part in this exhibition would fall far short of your expectations but for the constant help that has come to our educational life, not only from the Southern states, but especially from Northern philanthropists, who have made their gifts a constant stream of blessing and encouragement.
The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing. No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house.
In conclusion, may I repeat that nothing in thirty years has given us more hope and encouragement, and drawn us so near to you of the white race, as this opportunity offered by the Exposition; and here bending, as it were, over the altar that represents the results of the struggles of your race and mine, both starting practically empty-handed three decades ago, I pledge that in your effort to work out the great and intricate problem which God has laid at the doors of the South, you shall have at all times the patient, sympathetic help of my race; only let this he constantly in mind, that, while from representations in these buildings of the product of field, of forest, of mine, of factory, letters, and art, much good will come, yet far above and beyond material benefits will be that higher good, that, let us pray God, will come, in a blotting out of sectional differences and racial animosities and suspicions, in a determination to administer absolute justice, in a willing obedience among all classes to the mandates of law. This, coupled with our material prosperity, will bring into our beloved South a new heaven and a new earth.
W.E.B. DuBois Of Booker T. Washington & Others (Excerpted) 1903
Easily the most striking thing in the history of the American Negro since 1876 is the ascendancy of Mr. Booker T. Washington. It began at the time when war memories and ideals were rapidly passing; a day of astonishing commercial development was dawning; a sense of doubt and hesitation over-took the freedmen’s sons,—then it was that his leading began. Mr. Washington came, with a simple definite program, at the psychological moment when the nation was a little ashamed of having bestowed so much sentiment on Negroes, and was concentrating its energies on Dollars. His (Washington’s) program of industrial education, conciliation (stopping anger) of the South, and submission and silence as to civil and political rights, was not wholly original; the Free Negroes from 1830 up to war-time had striven to build industrial schools, and the American Missionary Association had from the first taught various trades; and Price and others had sought a way of honorable alliance with the best of the Southerners. But Mr. Washington first indissolubly linked these things; he put enthusiasm, unlimited energy, and perfect faith into his program, and changed it from a by-path into a veritable Way of Life. And the tale of the methods by which he did this is a fascinating study of human life.
To gain the sympathy and cooperation of the various elements comprising the white South was Mr. Washington’s first task; and this, at the time Tuskegee was founded, seemed, for a black man, well-nigh impossible. And yet ten years later it was done in the word spoken at Atlanta: “In all things purely social we can be as separate as the five fingers, and yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress .” This “Atlanta Compromise” is by all odds the most notable thing in Mr. Washington’s career. The South interpreted it in different ways: the radicals received it as a complete surrender of the demand for civil and political equality; the conservatives, as a generously conceived working basis for mutual understanding. So both approved it, and today its author (Washington) is certainly the most distinguished Southerner since Jefferson Davis, and the one with the largest personal following.
……… But Booker T. Washington arose as essentially the leader not of one race but of two,—a compromiser between the South, the North, and the Negro. Naturally the Negroes resented, at first bitterly, signs of compromise which surrendered their civil and political rights, even though this was to be exchanged for larger chances of economic development. The rich and dominating North, however, was not only weary of the race problem, but was investing largely in Southern enterprises, and welcomed any method of peaceful cooperation. Thus, by national opinion, the Negroes began to recognize Mr. Washington’s leadership; and the voice of criticism was hushed.
Mr. Washington represents in Negro thought the old attitude of adjustment and submission; but adjustment at such a peculiar time as to make his program unique. This is an age of unusual economic development, and Mr. Washington’s program naturally takes an economic cast, becoming a gospel of Work and Money to such an extent as apparently almost completely to overshadow the higher aims of life. Moreover, this is an age when the more advanced races are coming in closer contact with the less developed races, and the race-feeling is therefore intensified; and Mr. Washington’s program practically accepts the alleged inferiority of the Negro races
In answer to this, it has been claimed that the Negro can survive only through submission. Mr. Washington distinctly asks that black people give up, at least for the present, three things,—
First, political power, Second, insistence on civil rights, Third, higher education of Negro youth,—and concentrate all their energies on industrial education, and accumulation of wealth, and the conciliation of the South. This policy has been courageously and insistently advocated for over fifteen years, and has been triumphant for perhaps ten years. As a result of this tender of the palm-branch, what has been the return? In these years there have occurred: 1. The disfranchisement of the Negro. 2. The legal creation of a distinct status of civil inferiority for the Negro. 3. The steady withdrawal of aid from institutions for the higher training of the Negro.
So far as Mr. Washington preaches Thrift, Patience, and Industrial Training for the masses, we must hold up his hands and strive with him, rejoicing in his honors and glorying in the strength of this Joshua called of God and of man to lead the headless host.
The Talented Tenth (excerpted) W.E.B. DuBois September 1903
The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men. The problem of education, then, among Negroes must first of all deal with the Talented Tenth; it is the problem of developing the Best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the Worst, in their own and other races. Now the training of men is a difficult and intricate task. Its technique is a matter for educational experts, but its object is for the vision of seers. If we make money the object of man-training, we shall develop money-makers but not necessarily men; if we make technical skill the object of education, we may possess artisans but not, in nature, men. Men we shall have only as we make manhood the object of the work of the schools–intelligence, broad sympathy, knowledge of the world that was and is, and of the relation of men to it–this is the curriculum of that Higher Education which must underlie true life. On this foundation we may build bread winning, skill of hand and quickness of brain, with never a fear lest the child and man mistake the means of living for the object of life.
If this be true–and who can deny it–three tasks lay before me; first to show from the past that the Talented Tenth as they have risen among American Negroes have been worthy of leadership; secondly to show how these men may be educated and developed; and thirdly to show their relation to the Negro problem.
You misjudge us because you do not know us. From the very first it has been the educated and intelligent of the Negro people that have led and elevated the mass, and the sole obstacles that nullified and retarded their efforts were slavery and race prejudice; for what is slavery but the legalized survival of the unfit and the nullification of the work of natural internal leadership?
Do Americans ever stop to reflect that there are in this land a million men of Negro blood, well-educated, owners of homes, against the honor of whose womanhood no breath was ever raised, whose men occupy positions of trust and usefulness, and who, judged by any standard, have reached the full measure of the best type of modern European culture? Is it fair, is it decent, is it Christian to ignore these facts of the Negro problem, to belittle such aspiration, to nullify such leadership and seek to crush these people back into the mass out of which by toil and travail, they and their fathers have raised themselves?
How then shall the leaders of a struggling people be trained and the hands of the risen few strengthened? There can be but one answer: The best and most capable of their youth must be schooled in the colleges and universities of the land. We will not quarrel as to just what the university of the Negro should teach or how it should teach it–I willingly admit that each soul and each race-soul needs its own peculiar curriculum. But this is true: A university is a human invention for the transmission of knowledge and culture from generation to generation, through the training of quick minds and pure hearts, and for this work no other human invention will suffice, not even trade and industrial schools.
All men cannot go to college but some men must; every isolated group or nation must have its yeast, must have for the talented few centers of training where men are not so mystified…. In earlier years the two occupations of preacher and teacher were practically the only ones open to the black college graduate. Of later years a larger diversity of life among his people, has opened new avenues of employment.
What under the present circumstance, must a system of education do in order to raise the Negro as quickly as possible in the scale of civilization? The answer to this question seems to me clear: It must strengthen the Negro’s character, increase his knowledge and teach him to earn a living. Now it goes without saying that it is hard to do all these things simultaneously or suddenly and that at the same time it will not do to give all the attention to one and neglect the others; we could give black boys trades, but that alone will not civilize a race of ex-slaves; we might simply increase their knowledge of the world, but this would not necessarily make them wish to use this knowledge honestly; we might seek to strengthen character and purpose, but to what end if this people have nothing to eat or to wear? A system of education is not one thing, nor does it have a single definite object, nor is it a mere matter of schools. Education is that whole system of human training within and without the school house walls, which molds and develops men. If then we start out to train an ignorant and unskilled people with a heritage of bad habits, our system of training must set before itself two great aims–the one dealing with knowledge and character, the other part seeking to give the child the technical knowledge necessary for him to earn a living under the present circumstances.
There must be trained those who are to teach these schools–men and women of knowledge and culture and technical skill who understand modern civilization, and have the training and aptitude to impart it to the children under them.
But I have already said that human education is not simply a matter of schools; it is much more a matter of family and group life – the training of one’s home, of one’s daily companions, of one’s social class.
What is the chief need for the building up of the Negro public school in the South? The Negro race in the South needs teachers to-day above all else.. There are to-day less than 3,000 living Negro college graduates in the United States, and less than 1,000 Negroes in college.
The Talented Tenth of the Negro race must be made leaders of thought and missionaries of culture among their people. No others can do this work and Negro colleges must train men for it. The Negro race, like all other races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men.
Belief That Race Problem Will Adjust Itself A Fallacy - by Marcus Garvey
Some of our leaders in the Negro race flatter themselves into believing that the problem of black and white in America will work itself out, and that all the Negro has to do is to be humble, submissive and obedient, and everything will work out well in the "Sweet bye and bye." But the keen student will observe this, -- that a terrible mistake was made between forty and fifty years ago when black men were elected to legislative assemblies all over the country, especially in the southern states and even at the National Capitol when representatives of this race occupied seats in Congress. The mistake was made as far as the white people were concerned. There was a state of dis-organization in the Nation, and in that state certain things happened by mere chance. In the chance, dozens of black men became Senators and Congressmen. This opened up to the eyes of the white nation the possibility of the black man governing the white man in these United States of America -- the possibility of the black man making laws to govern the white man? This possibility drove them almost to madness, in suddenly rejecting the spirit of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence of Lincoln that "all men are created equal," hence a determination was arrived at, that never again would it be possible for the race of slaves to govern the race of masters within these United States of America.
Some of us believe that this slave race of ours will live in the United States of America and in the future again become law makers for the white race (our slave masters of sixty years ago). Nothing of the kind has happened in all human history. There is not one instance where a slave race living in the same country (within the same bounds as the race of masters that enslaved them and being in numbers less than the race of masters) has ever yet ruled and governed the masters. It has never been so in history, and it will never be so in the future. The hidden spirit of America is determined that it shall never be, caring not what hopes and promises we get.
But history has recorded where a race of slaves through evolution, through progress, has risen to the heights where they ruled and dominated those who once enslaved them, but that race of slaves has always had to betake itself to other habitats (usually their own native land) and there, apart from those who once enslaved them, developed a power of their own, a strength of their own, and in the higher development of that strength, and of that power, they, like others, have made conquests, who once enslaved them. So for us to encourage the idea that one day Negroes will rise to the highest in the administration of this white government, is only encouraging a vain hope.
The only wise thing for us as ambitious Negroes to do, is to organize the world over, and build up for the race a mighty nation of our own in Africa. And this race of ours that cannot get recognition and respect in the country where we were slaves, by using our own ability, power and genius, would develop for ourselves in another country in our habitat a nation of our own, and be able to send back from that country,--from that native habitat -- to the country where we were once enslaved, representatives of our race, that would get as much respect as any other ambassadors from any other race or nation.
Source: Excerpt from Amy Jacques-Garvey, ed. Philosophy & Opinions of Marcus Garvey. New York: Athenaeum, 1969.
Fellow men of the Negro Race, Greeting:
For four and a half years the Universal Negro Improvement Association has been advocating the cause of Africa for the Africans -- that is, that the Negro peoples of the world should concentrate upon the object of building up for themselves a great nation in Africa.
When we started our propaganda toward this end several of the so-called intellectual Negroes who have been bamboozling the race for over half a century said that we were crazy, that the Negro peoples of the western world were not interested in Africa and could not live in Africa. One editor and leader went so far as to say at his Pan-African Congress that American Negroes could not live in Africa, because the climate was too hot. All kinds of arguments have been adduced by these Negro intellectuals against the colonization of Africa by the black race. Some said that the black man would ultimately work out his existence alongside of the white man in countries founded and established by the latter. Therefore, it was not necessary for Negroes to seek an independent nationality of their own. The old time stories of "Africa fever," "African bad climate," "African mosquitoes," "African savages," have been repeated by these "brainless intellectuals" of ours as a scare against our people in America and the West Indies taking a kindly interest in the new program of building a racial empire of our own in our Motherland.
A "Program" at Last?
I trust that the Negro peoples of the world are now convinced that the work of the Universal Negro Improvement Association is not a visionary one, but very practical, and that it is not so far fetched, but can be realized in a short while if the entire race will only co-operate and work toward the desired end. Now that the work of our organization has started to bear fruit, we find that some of these 'doubting Thomases" of the three and four years ago are endeavoring to mix themselves up with the popular idea of rehabilitating Africa in the interest of the Negro. They are now advancing spurious "programs" and in a short while will endeavor to force themselves upon the public as advocates and leaders of the African idea.
The Dream of a Negro Empire
It is only a question of a few more years when Africa will be completely colonized by Negroes, as Europe is by the white race. It is for us to welcome the proffered help of such men as Senators McCullum and France. Though their methods are a little different to that of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, yet it is felt that the same object will be achieved. What we want is an independent African nationality, and if America is to help the Negro peoples of the world establish such a nationality, then we welcome the assistance.
It is hoped that when the time comes for American and West Indian Negroes to settle in Africa, they will realize their responsibility and their duty. It will not be to go to the natives, but it shall be the purpose of the Universal Negro Improvement Association to have established in Africa the brotherly co-operation which will make the interest of the African native and the American and West Indies Negro one and the same, that is to say, we shall enter into a common partnership to build up Africa in the interest of our race.
Your obedient servant,
Marcus Garvey, President General
Universal Negro Improvement Association
New York, April 18, 1922
Source: Excerpt from the Negro World, Vol. XII, No. 10?
New York, Saturday, April 22, 1922
Guided Questions for Primary Sources: Name_____________________________
Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise Speech
1. What does Washington think of the idea of moving to a foreign land?
2. What type of workers does Washington think might be overlooked in the “great leap” to freedom?”
3. Does Washington believe writing a poem is better, worse, or the same than learning to till a field?
4. Does Washington believe African Americans should start at the top of society or at the bottom?
5. What arguments does Washington give to white America in attempting to gain their trust?
6. The most famous section of this speech mentions being “separate as the fingers.” What do you think Washington means by this statement?
7. Does Washington stress rights in earning money or rights in spending money?
W.E.B. DuBois – Of Booker T. Washington & Others
1. What type of education does Dubois state that Washington is in favor of?
2. What do you think DuBois means when he calls Washington’s speech a “Atlanta Compromise?”
3. Does DuBois think Washington’s plan is the correct path for African Americans?
4. What specific criticisms does DuBois have with Washington’s plan?
5. What three injustices does DuBois bring up at the end his speech?
Using the Atlanta Compromise Speech & Of Booker T. Washington, summarize Booker T. Washington’s plan to move African Americans forward.
W.E.B. DuBois – The Talented Tenth
1. Who does DuBois believe will save his race?
2. What group does DuBois say have always “elevated the masses?”
3. What type of schooling does DuBois advocate?
4. Earlier, what two occupations were the only job openings for black college graduates?
5. Besides schools, what other important element does DuBois argue is critical to education?
Summarize W.E.B. DuBois plan to move African Americans forward.
Marcus Garvey – Belief that the race problem ……
1. Does Garvey believe that racial issues will work themselves out?
2. According to Garvey, why were the gains in sending African Americans to Congress a mistake?
3. What does Garvey believe about the chance of African Americans every having political power in the United States?
4. What does Garvey call upon “Negroes…the world over” to do?
Excerpt from the Negro World
1. What association does Garvey mention that benefits people from Africa?
2. How did other African American leaders view Garvey’s plan?
3. What are some of the specific arguments against Garvey’s idea?
4. What is Garvey’s Dream for Africa?
5. What does Garvey expect Negroes in the United States to do?
Summarize Marcus Garvey’s plan to move African Americans forward.