Study Guide for African-American History Test

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Study Guide for African-American History Test

Unit 4/African-Americans fight for equality; road to the Modern Civil Rights Movement

Vocabulary – From the Ida B. Wells reading
1) Suffrage – The right to vote in political elections

2) Suffragist – A person (in the past), advocating for the right to vote

3) Ardent – Passionate; enthusiastic

4) Emblematic – Representative; indicative; symbolic

5) Fortitude – Bravery; Courage in pain or adversity

6) Injustice – Lack of fairness

7) Muckraking – Reporting scandalous information about famous people; expose corruption

8) “This atrocity galvanized her mettle” – (after Ida B. Wells three friends were lynched) this cruel act is what sparked her determination (to fight injustices)

Vocabulary – From pages 470 – 471 (from the textbook)
9) Enacted – make a bill or other proposal law

10) Asylum – An institution offering shelter and support to people who are mental ill

11) Embed (Embedded) – implant; to fix firmly; insert

12) Minstrel show – American form of entertainment developed in the 19th Century of comic skits,

variety acts, dancing and music performed by white people in black face.

13) Demise – To end; downfall

14) Subordinate – Lower in rank or position

15) Proximity – Nearness; closeness

16) Invariably – Always; Consistently

17) Hitched – To attach; connect or fasten

18) Cinders – Rocks
Vocabulary - Plessy v Ferguson handout

19) Affirm – To agree or support

20) Octoroon – A person with 1/8 black ancestry

  • Ida B Wells – information from the reading (if you do not get it back, a copy will be online)

  • Plessy v Ferguson – information from the textbook and reading

  • The origin of Jim Crow; meaning of Jim Crow, 13th, 14th Amendments (year ratified), due process, NAACP (year formed)

  • Brown v. Board of Education – notes from board (yesterday) and the reading from today

  • The connection between Plessy v. Ferguson and the Brown v Board of Ed case – the dates of each case, when the NAACP was formed

Additional Reading: I will attach this online – The Clark Doll experiment – background and its connection to one of the cases above. But, read the entire article (about 5 questions will come from this reading)

The Final Ca

The Final Call |

New ‘doll test’ produces ugly results



Film jacket from movie A girl like me Photos:

(NNPA) - The reassuring female voice asks the child a question: “Can you show me the doll that looks bad?”

The child, a preschool-aged Black girl, quickly picks up and shows the Black doll over a White one that is identical in every respect except complexion.

“And why does that look bad?”

“Because she’s Black,” the little girl answers emphatically.

“And why is this the nice doll?” the voice continues.

“Because she’s White.”

“And can you give me the doll that looks like you?”

The little girl hesitates for a split second before handing over the Black doll that she has just designated as the uglier one.


Kiri Davis

This was not the 1954 doll test used by pioneering psychologist Kenneth Clark to help make the case for desegregation in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregated public schools. Rather, it was a doll test duplicated in Harlem, N.Y., last year, more than a half-century afterBrown. To the chagrin of parents and psychologists across the nation, the results were unchanged.

The test is again in the news because of an eight-minute documentary produced by 17-year-old film student Kiri Davis of Manhattan’s Urban Academy who participates in the Reel Works Teen Filmmaking program, a free after-school program supported by cable network HBO.

The videotaped doll test resulted from a collection of writings Kiri had compiled on issues of importance to Black girls in her high school. In that writing, she noticed that complexion was a recurring theme.

“I knew what my friends were going through. These standards of beauty just kept coming up,” she said in an interview with the NNPA News Service. “I thought it was an issue that needed to be exposed more, although at times it seemed too taboo to talk about. But I thought a film would just put it all out there and cause discussion.”

In realizing that so many dark-skinned girls have been told that lighter or Whiter skin is more beautiful, Kiri decided to drive home her point by conducting the doll study. The children are from a Harlem Day Care Center. And 15 of the 21 children surveyed preferred the White doll over the Black one.

Mr. Clark and his wife Mamie Phipps Clark, also a psychologist, conducted the doll study in 1950 that showed how racial segregation destroyed the self-esteem of Black children. The Clarendon County, S.C. experiment involved 16 Black children, ages 6 to 9. They asked the children their perception of a White doll and a Black doll. Eleven of the students said the Black doll looked “bad” and nine said the White doll looked “nice.”

The test results influenced the U.S. Supreme Court to hold school segregation to be unconstitutional in the 1954 Brown case. Arguing against the “Separate but equal” doctrine in 1952, Thurgood Marshall, then an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, cited Mr. Clark’s work as proof of the doctrine’s damage to the self-image of Black children. On May 17, 1954, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren announced the court’s decision to desegregate schools in Brown v. Board of Education. Mr. Clark’s doll test was one of his citations as proof of the psychological damage on Black children.

The Davis test shows that psychology has not changed very much at all.

“I’m really not shocked, I am sad to say,” says Julia Hare, a San Francisco psychologist. “If you keep doing what you have always done, you’re going to keep getting what you have always had. Our children are bombarded with images every day that they see on television screens and on coffee tables—either the light-skinned female that everybody is pushing or they give preference to the closest to White images.”

Kiri’s film also features brief interviews with four teens who object to having been stereotyped as less intelligent or uglier simply because they do not meet the expectations of advertisers’ perceived standards of beauty.

That White-is-right image is also projected through music.

“Look at our rap artists and entertainers, and not just the Lil’ Kims and the Beyoncés,” opines Ms. Hare. “Their skin is getting lighter and lighter and they’re getting blonder and blonder.”

Gail Wyatt, professor of Clinical psychiatry at the University of California at Los Angeles, says she would recommend to any parent to instill racial pride into their children well before pre-school.

“Youngsters come into their homes making disparaging remarks about being brown or African-descended or about nappy hair,” says Prof. Wyatt. “It is a definite concern of any parent. We want to know how our children can grow up in their own skin. We can’t leave that part of a child’s development to the school system or the neighborhood.”

Children should be socialized between the ages of 2-4 to understand culture and skin color, Prof. Wyatt says. “They should be taught a concept of beauty and a context of ancestry.”

Kiri’s mother, Ursula Davis, an education consultant, says educating her daughter and instilling pride about her heritage was a high priority around the home.

She says that when Kiri was in pre-kindergarten, enjoying the tales of Cinderella and Snow White, she once said out loud at school that she wanted to be a princess, too. A little friend, a Latino boy, quickly dispelled her dream. He told her she couldn’t be a princess because she was Black and that only White girls were princesses. For a while, Kiri believed her little friend—but not for long.

“She grew up with African art around her. We took her to an exhibit in the Smithsonian about Black women in Washington, D.C.,” Ms. Davis recalls.

“She began to read veraciously about Black heritage and African American studies. She has immersed herself since she was very young and we have immersed her in the celebration of who she is.”

And it has obviously paid off, as Kiri looks forward to a future in filmmaking that will also instill pride.

“I only want to make films that are about issues that are of importance to me, films that don’t show the stereotypes,” Kiri shares.

Some parents say their children are bombarded with countless negative images each day and that it takes a special effort to compete with those images.

“I make sure I know what they see and what they watch on television. And many times, we are watching things together,” says Alethea Holland, a Washington, D.C. mother of three daughters ages 7, 9 and 15. “And I give them each a mirror and I try to make them look in the mirror and appreciate their beauty and I make sure that they hear what I say; not what other people say, especially at school.”

Sandra Cox, director of the Coalition of Mental Health Professionals in Los Angeles and a past president of the Association of Black Psychologists, says the short film clip may have understated the problem.

“I believe if any of us out here [on the West Coast] were to do the same study, it would be still worse,” she says. “Hollywood created the standard.”

Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Her Passion for Justice by Lee D. Baker: Words: 1368 Level: 11.8

Read and annotate the article – 6 total (annotate on each page; # each). Please use your higher order thinking skills when you write your comments.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett was a fearless anti-lynching crusader, suffragist, women's rights advocate, journalist, and speaker. She stands as one of our nation's most uncompromising leaders and most ardent defenders of democracy. She was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862 and died in Chicago, Illinois 1931 at the age of sixty-nine.

Although enslaved prior to the Civil War, her parents were able to support their seven children because her mother was a "famous" cook and her father was a skilled carpenter. When Ida was only fourteen, a tragic epidemic of Yellow Fever swept through Holly Springs and killed her parents and youngest sibling. Emblematic of the righteousness, responsibility, and fortitude that characterized her life, she kept the family together by securing a job teaching. She managed to continue her education by attending near-by Rust College. She eventually moved to Memphis to live with her aunt and help raise her youngest sisters.image of ida b. wells

It was in Memphis where she first began to fight (literally) for racial and gender justice. In 1884 she was asked by the conductor of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company to give up her seat on the train to a white man and ordered her into the smoking or "Jim Crow" car, which was already crowded with other passengers. Despite the 1875 Civil Rights Act banning discrimination on the basis of race, creed, or color, in theaters, hotels, transports, and other public accommodations, several railroad companies defied this congressional mandate and racially segregated its passengers. It is important to realize that her defiant act was before Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the U.S. Supreme Court decision that established the fallacious doctrine of "separate but equal," which constitutionalized racial segregation. Wells wrote in her autobiography:

I refused, saying that the forward car [closest to the locomotive] was a smoker, and as I was in the ladies' car, I proposed to stay. . . [The conductor] tried to drag me out of the seat, but the moment he caught hold of my arm I fastened my teeth in the back of his hand. I had braced my feet against the seat in front and was holding to the back, and as he had already been badly bitten he didn't try it again by himself. He went forward and got the baggage man and another man to help him and of course they succeeded in dragging me out.

Wells was forcefully removed from the train and the other passengers--all whites--applauded. When Wells returned to Memphis, she immediately hired an attorney to sue the railroad. She won her case in the local circuit courts, but the railroad company appealed to the Supreme Court of Tennessee, and it reversed the lower court's ruling. This was the first of many struggles Wells engaged, and from that moment forward, she worked tirelessly and fearlessly to overturn injustices against women and people of color.

Her suit against the railroad company also sparked her career as a journalist. Many papers wanted to hear about the experiences of the 25-year-old school teacher who stood up against white supremacy. Her writing career blossomed in papers geared to African American and Christian audiences.

In 1889 Wells became a partner in the Free Speech and Headlight. The paper was also owned by Rev. R. Nightingale-- the pastor of Beale Street Baptist Church. He "counseled" his large congregation to subscribe to the paper and it flourished, allowing her to leave her position as an educator.

In 1892 three of her friends were lynched. Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and Henry Stewart. These three men were owners of People's Grocery Company, and their small grocery had taken away customers from competing white businesses. A group of angry white men thought they would "eliminate" the competition so they attacked People's grocery, but the owners fought back, shooting one of the attackers. The owners of People's Grocery were arrested, but a lynch-mob broke into the jail, dragged them away from town, and brutally murdered all three. Again, this atrocity galvanized her mettle. She wrote in The Free Speech

The city of Memphis has demonstrated that neither character nor standing avails the Negro if he dares to protect himself against the white man or become his rival. There is nothing we can do about the lynching now, as we are out-numbered and without arms. The white mob could help itself to ammunition without pay, but the order is rigidly enforced against the selling of guns to Negroes. There is therefore only one thing left to do; save our money and leave a town which will neither protect our lives and property, nor give us a fair trial in the courts, but takes us out and murders us in cold blood when accused by white persons.

Many people took the advice Wells penned in her paper and left town; other members of the Black community organized a boycott of white owned business to try to stem the terror of lynchings. Her newspaper office was destroyed as a result of the muckraking and investigative journalism she pursued after the killing of her three friends. She could not return to Memphis, so she moved to Chicago. She however continued her blistering journalistic attacks on Southern injustices, being especially active in investigating and exposing the fraudulent "reasons" given to lynch Black men, which by now had become a common occurrence.

In Chicago, she helped develop numerous African American women and reform organizations, but she remained diligent in her anti-lynching crusade, writing Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases. She also became a tireless worker for women's suffrage, and happened to march in the famous 1913 march for universal suffrage in Washington, D.C. Not able to tolerate injustice of any kind, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, along with Jane Addams, successfully blocked the establishment of segregated schools in Chicago.

In 1895 Wells married the editor of one of Chicago's early Black newspapers. She wrote: "I was married in the city of Chicago to Attorney F. L. Barnett, and retired to what I thought was the privacy of a home." She did not stay retired long and continued writing and organizing. In 1906, she joined with William E.B. DuBois and others to further the Niagara Movement, and she was one of two African American women to sign "the call" to form the NAACP in 1909. Although Ida B. Wells was one of the founding members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), she was also among the few Black leaders to explicitly oppose Booker T. Washington and his strategies. As a result, she was viewed as one the most radical of the so-called "radicals" who organized the NAACP and marginalized from positions within its leadership. As late as 1930, she became disgusted by the nominees of the major parties to the state legislature, so Wells-Barnett decided to run for the Illinois State legislature, which made her one of the first Black women to run for public office in the United States. A year later, she passed away after a lifetime crusading for justice. (website:

When you think of some of the injustices that plague African-Americans today, what did Ida B. Wells and others do to fight against some of the inequities? Use evidence from the article.

Claim: Ida B. Wells became a fearless African American catalyst after witnessing or experiencing numerous acts of injustice. (Use textual support from the reading)




Term or phrase

I think the word or phrase means

Denotation or actual meaning of the term





Injustice (s)




“this atrocity galvanized her mettle”

Sequence at least 7 major events in the life of Ida B. Wells

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