How far were the 1920s a time of racism and discrimination for Black Americans?
Argument 1 - A time of racism [HACKLE]:
a. Hostility to immigrants: and the Red Scare' (see p.5 above)
d. American Government: refused to pass laws banning lynchings or giving Black Americans the vote.
c. Jim Crow Laws: the name for laws passed in the southern states which prevented Black Americans from mixing with whites ('segregation'), denied them equality of education and civil rights, and prevented them from voting.
b. Ku Klux Klan: an organisation to maintain WASPs supremacy, which had 5 million members by 1925. Many supporters were poor whites, who did not want Blak Americans to be their equals/fear they would take their jobs, but many were racism wealthy white Americans. They wore white sheets and hoods, and marched with burning crosses. They spoke with each other in a secret language which they called 'Klonversations'. They attacked, tortured and killed Black Americans, but also Jews and Catholics and 'immoral' people such as alcoholics.
e. Lynchings: mobs of white people often hanged ('lynched') Blacks Americans whom they suspected of a crime (usually the police turned a blind eye).
f. Even in the north: Black Americans ended up with the low-paid menial jobs, such as janitors, bootblacks, cooks, houseboys, baggage handlers, waiters, doormen, dishwashers and washroom attendants. In 1919, white Americans in Chicago rampaged through Black neighbourhoods after a drowning black man clinging to a log had drifted into a whites-only swimming area.
Argument 2 - A time of flowering [RHINO]:
a. Role models: some Black Americans became famous - the sprinter Jesse Owens, the baseball player Jackie Robinson, the dancer Josephine Baker. They were an inspiration to other Black Americans.
b. Harlem Renaissance: a cultural flowering in the New York Black neighbourhood of Harlem, based on jazz, but also excellent Black architects, novelists, poets and painters. Many of these believed in 'Artistic Action' - winning equality by proving they were equal.
c. Identity: in 1925 Alain Locke wrote The New Negro, who had to smash the old image of 'Uncle Tom' and 'Sambo', and develop a new identity, 'uplift' the race and fight for equality. There were Black newspapers and magazines. This was the time when the phrase was coined: 'Black is Beautiful'.
d. NAACP: Set up in 1909, it campaigned for civil rights.
e. One-and-a-half million Black Americans migrated from the south to the north. Although many of them ended up in low-paid jobs, some of them formed a new Black middle class, and were educated at university.
A lynching (1935) - note the children.
In the morning, a Black mother sent her children to a school for colored children only. Going to town, she sat at the back of the bus, in the seats for coloreds. She went to the posy office for coloreds, visited the library for coloreds, and walked in a separate park. When she went shopping, she stood in line, so White women could go in front of her.
Her husband went to work, but he was not the boss; that was a job for a White man. He used a separate rest room, and went to a separate toilet.
John D Clare, The Black Peoples of America (2001)