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The Goals and Failures of the First and Second Reconstructions

Some people say we've got a lot of malice some say its a lot of nerve. But, I say we won't quit moving until we
get what we deserve. We have been bucked and we have been conned. We have been treated bad, talked about
as just bones. But just as it takes two eyes to eyes make a pair. Brother we won't quit until we get our share. Say
it loud- I'm Black and I'm Proud.


James Brown
Say it Loud- I'm Black and I'm Proud
Say It Loud- I'm Black and I'm Proud the Album


The First and Second Reconstructions held out the great promise of rectifying racial injustices in America. The First
Reconstruction, emerging out of the chaos of the Civil War had as its goals equality for Blacks in voting, politics, and use of
public facilities. The Second Reconstruction emerging out of the booming economy of the 1950's, had as its goals, integration,
the end of Jim Crow and the more amorphous goal of making America a biracial democracy where, "the sons of former slaves
and the sons of former slave holders will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood." Even though both
movements, were borne of high hopes they failed in bringing about their goals. Born in hope, they died in despair, as both
movements saw many of their gains washed away. I propose to examine why they failed in realizing their goals. My thesis is
that failure to incorporate economic justice for Blacks in both movements led to the failure of the First and Second
Reconstruction.
The First Reconstruction came after the Civil War and lasted till 1877. The political, social, and economic conditions after
the Civil War defined the goals of the First Reconstruction. At this time the Congress was divided politically on issues that
grew out of the Civil War: Black equality, rebuilding the South, readmitting Southern states to Union, and deciding who would
control government.1 Socially, the South was in chaos. Newly emancipated slaves wandered the South after having left their
former masters, and the White population was spiritually devastated, uneasy about what lay ahead. Economically, the South
was also devastated: plantations lay ruined, railroads torn up, the system of slave labor in shambles, and cities burnt down.
Theeconomic condition of ex-slaves after the Civil War was just as uncertain; many had left former masters and roamed the
highways.2  Amid the post Civil War chaos, various political groups were scrambling to further their agendas. First, Southern
Democrats, a party comprised of leaders of the confederacy and other wealthy Southern whites, sought to end what they
perceived as Northern domination of the South. They also sought to institute Black Codes, by limiting the rights of Blacks to
move, vote, travel, and change jobs,3 which like slavery, would provide an adequate and cheap labor supply for plantations.
Second, Moderate Republicans wanted to pursue a policy of reconciliation between North and South, but at the same time
ensure slavery was abolished.4 Third, Radical Republicans, comprised of Northern politicians, were strongly opposed to
slavery, unsympathetic to the South, wanted to protect newly free slaves, and keep there majority in Congress.5 The fourth
political element, at the end of the Civil War was President Andrew Johnson whose major goal was unifying the nation. The
fifth element were various fringe groups such as, abolitionists and Quakers. Strongly motivated by principle and a belief in
equality, they believed that Blacks needed equality in American society, although they differed on what the nature of that should
be.6
The Northern Radical Republicans, with a majority in Congress, emerged as the political group that set the goals for
Reconstruction which was to prevent slavery from rising again in the South. At first, the Radical Republicans thought this could
be accomplished by outlawing slavery with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. But Southern Democrats in their quest to
restore their rule in the South brought back slavery in all but name, by passing Black Codes as early as 1865. Both Moderate
Republicans and Radical Republicans in Congress reacted. Joining together in 1866, they passed a bill to extend the life and
responsibilities of the Freedmen's Bureau to protect newly freed slaves against the various Black Codes. President Johnson
vetoed the bill, but Radical and Moderate Republicans eventually were able to pass it.7
The Black Codes and President Johnson's veto of all Reconstruction legislation that was unfavorable to the South caused
Moderate and Radical Republicans to change their goals from just ending slavery to seeking political equality and voting rights
for Blacks.8 The new goals, were based on humanitarian and political considerations. Northerners had grown increasingly
sympathetic to the plight of the Blacks in the South following numerous well publicized incidents in which innocent Blacks were
harassed, beaten, and killed.9 The extension of suffrage to Black males was a political move by the Republicans in Congress
who believed that Blacks would form the backbone of the Republican Party in the South, preventing Southern Democrats from
winning elections in Southern states, and uphold the Republican majority in Congress after the Southern States rejoined the
Union. As one Congressman from the North bluntly put it, "It prevents the States from going into the hands of the rebels, and
giving them the President and the Congress for the next forty years."10
Until the 1890's, this policy of achieving equality through granting political rights to Blacks worked moderately well.
During Reconstruction, newly freed slaves voted in large numbers in the South. Of the 1,330,000 people registered to vote
under Reconstruction Acts 703,000 were Black and only 627,000 were White.11 Even after 1877, when federal troops were
withdrawn12, Jim Crow laws did not fully emerge in the South and Blacks continued to vote in high numbers and hold various
state and federal offices. Between 1877 and 1900, a total of ten Blacks were elected to serve in the US Congress.13 This
occurred because Southern Democrats forged a unlikely coalition with Black voters against White laborers14. Under this
paternalistic order Southern Democrats agreed to protect Blacks political rights in the South in return for Black votes15.
But voting and election figures hide the true nature of Black political power during and after Reconstruction. Few Blacks
held elective offices in relation to their percentage of the South's population.16 And those in office usually did not wield the
power, which during Reconstruction continued to reside with Moderate and Radical Republicans in Congress, whites who ran
Southern state governments, and federal troops. Emancipated slaves had little to do with either fashioning Reconstruction
policy or its implementation. Blacks political rights were dependent upon alliances made with groups with conflicting interests
White Northern Republicans and White elites in the South.17 Though they pursued political equality for Blacks, their goals
were shaped more by self-interest than for concern for Black equality.
By 1905 Blacks lost their right to vote. In Louisiana alone the number of Black voters fell from 130,334 in 1896 to 1,342
in 1904.18 The number of elected Black public officials dropped to zero. The disenfranchisement of Blacks was accomplished
through good character tests, poll taxes, White primaries, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and intimidation. By 1905,
whatever success politically and socially the Reconstruction had enjoyed had been wiped out.19 Following on the heels of
disenfranchisement came implementation of comprehensive Jim Crow laws segregating steamboats, toilets, ticket windows and
myriad of other previously non-segregated public places. 20
Two historians, C. Van Woodward and William Julius Wilson, both pin point specific events such as, recessions, class
conflicts, imperialist expansion to explain the rise of Jim Crow. Wilson's21 and Woodward's22 analysis is lacking because the
United States has undergone many recessions and many times minority groups such as Jews, Irish, and Eastern Europeans and
have been blamed for taking away the jobs of the lower-class; and yet these groups have not had their votes stripped away
from them and did not have an elaborate set of laws constructed to keep them segregated in society as Blacks have. The only
community of people in the Untied States who have been victims of systematic, long-term, violent, White Supremacy have
been Native Americans. And Native Americans, like Afro-Americans, have been predominately powerless economically and
politically. This points to the conclusion that the systemic demise of the First Reconstruction stems from the failure of
Reconstruction leaders to include economic justice for Blacks as a goal; thus dooming the Reconstruction movement from the
outset. The failure of pursuing a policy of economic redistribution forced Blacks into fragile political alliances that quickly
disintegrated (as can be seen in 1877 and 1896); Blacks were forced to rely on the Radical Republicans and Federal troops to
give them their rights and later their former slave masters, the Southern Democrats, to safeguard their rights.23 The
disintegration of these agreements were caused directly by the events that Woodward and Wilson point to, but these political
agreements were inherently fragile and would have inevitably unraveled because of their very nature. These political alliances
had conflicting interests. The poor sharecropper and the White elites of the South were inherently unequal. The former slaves
were looked on not as equals, but as inferior.24 Whatever well meaning reforms were instituted were done so paternalistically
and for Southern Democrats own interests. And when an alliance with Blacks no longer served the interests of the whites they
were easily abandoned. When the Blacks agreement with the Southern Democrats unraveled Blacks were left economically
naked except for the loin cloth of political rights. But this loin cloth was easily stripped from them, because lacking economic
power, they were unable to make other political allies, their economic position allowed them to be easily intimidated by White
land owners, they had no way to lobby the government, no way to leave the South, few employment opportunities, and for
many Blacks no education.25 The leaders of the Reconstruction failed to understand that without economic justice Blacks
would be forced into a dependency on the White power structure to protect their rights and when these rights no longer served
the interests of this power structure they were easily stripped away. Reconstruction Acts and Constitutional Amendments
offered little protection to stop this stripping away of Black political rights.
The Reconstruction leaders failed to understand the relationship between political rights and economic power, if they had
they might not have rejected measures that could have provided former slaves with the economic power to safeguard their
political rights. Two possibilities presented themselves at the outset of the First Reconstruction. A Quaker and Radical
Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania, Thaddeus Stevens, proposed that the North seize the land holdings of the South's
richest land owners as a war indemnity and redistribute the land giving each newly freed Negro adult male a mule and forty
acres.26 Thaddeus Stevens a bitter foe of the South,27 explained that a free society had to be based on land redistribution:

Southern Society has more the features of aristocracy then a democracy..... It is impossible that any practical
equality of rights can exist where a few thousand men monopolize the who landed property. How can Republican
institutions, free schools, free churches, free social intercourse exist in a mingled community of nabobs and serfs,
of owners of twenty-thousand-acre manors, with lordly palaces, and the occupants of narrow huts inhabited by
low White trash?


Stevens plan in the Republican Press though drew unfavorable responses. The plan was called brash and unfair. Only one
newspaper endorsed it and that was the French paper La Temps which said, "There cannot be real emancipation for men who
do no possess at least a small portion of soil."28 When the bill was introduced in Congress it was resoundingly defeated by a
majority of Republicans. Stevens was alone in understanding the tremendous institutional changes that would have to take place
to guarantee the emancipation of a people. If the former slave did not have his own land he would be turned into a serf in his
own nation a stranger to the freedoms guaranteed to him and a slave all but in name.
The other alternative the leaders of Reconstruction had was expanding the Freedmen's Bureau from a temporary to a
permanent institution that educated all former slaves and ensured that former slaves had a viable economic base that did not
exploit them. Instead, the Freedmen's Bureau lasted merely five years, and only five million dollars were appropriated to it. Its
mission to educate and protect the Freedmen was meet in only a small way in this short amount of time and when the
Freedmen's Bureau shutdown it left the education of former slaves to local governments which allocated limited if any funds.29
Although proposed by a few Republicans the Freedmen's Bureau also refused to set a minimum wage in the South to ensure
that former slaves received a fair wage from their former slave masters. Instead, the Freedmen's Bureau was instrumental in
spearheading the formation of sharecropping by encouraging both former slaves and plantation owners to enter into
sharecropping agreements.30 By the time the Bureau ceased operations in 1870, the sharecropping system was the dominant
arrangement in the South. This arrangement continued the poverty and oppression of Blacks in the South. As one Southern
governor said about sharecropping, "The Negro skins the land and the landlord skins the Negro."31 The Freedmen's Bureau
missed a great opportunity; had its mission been broadened, its funding increased, and its power been extended, it could have
educated the Black population and guaranteed some type of land reform in the South. Because neither Thaddeus Stevens plan
for land redistribution or an expansion of the Freedmen's Bureau took place, Blacks were left after slavery much as they were
before, landless and uneducated. In the absence of an economic base for Blacks, three forces moved in during the 1890's
wiping out the political successes of Reconstruction: the white sheets of White supremacy, the blue suits of politicians all too
eager to unify whites with racism, and the black robes of the judiciary in cases like Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1896 stripped away
Blacks' social and political rights.
The Civil Rights movement came nearly ninety years after the First Reconstruction. The goals of the Second
Reconstruction involved at first tearing down the legal Jim Crow of the South, but by the March on Washington in 1964 the
goals had changed to guaranteeing all Americans equality of opportunity, integration both social and political, and the more
amorphous goal of a biracial democracy.32 But the goals did not include the need to transform the economic condition of
Blacks. Instead they emphasized the need to transform the political and social condition of Blacks.33
At the beginning, the Civil Rights Movement sought solutions to racial injustice through laws and used the Federal courts
to secure them. The Supreme Court set the stage in 1954 with Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka Kansas: the
Brown decision focused the attention of dominant Black institutions such as CORE (Congress On Racial Equality) and the
NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) on fighting the illegality of segregation in Congress
and courts. Subsequent organizations that came to play larger roles in the Civil Rights Movement such as, SNCC (Students
Non-violent Coordinating Committee) and SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Council) fell into this same pattern--
combating mainly legal segregation. Although they pioneered different tactics-- sit-ins, boycotts, and marches, the goal was to
focus attention on getting rid of Jim Crow.34
The Civil Rights movement, successfully pressured Congress and the President to enact the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the
1965 Voting Rights Act. The Civil Rights Movement also brought about a fundamental shift in public opinion; de jure racial
discrimination became a moral wrong for many Americans. The Civil Rights Movement by 1965 had broken the back of legal
Jim Crow in the South. However, in the North, Blacks living under de facto segregation by economic and racist conditions.
Segregated schools and housing were unaffected by the progress of the Civil Rights Movement.35 By the middle of 1965, the
Civil Rights Movement had stalled; never recovering its momentum.36
C. Van Woodward views the failure of the Civil Rights Movement to realize its goals and its disintegration in the same
myopic way he views the failure of the First Reconstruction. He points to three different events, from 1965 to 1968, to explain
the disintegration of the Civil Rights Movement: riots in urban areas which created a White backlash37, the rise of racial
separatism and extremism within the Civil Rights Movement and Black community, 38 and the Vietnam War which diverted
White liberals' attention. Woodward's analysis fails to provide a broad perspective of why these events destroyed such a
strong movement. There had been riots in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, yet these riots neither spread nor crippled the
movement.39 Black separatism had been a vocal movement before 1965 in the form of the Nation of Islam.40 And mass
opposition to the Vietnam War among White liberals did not pickup momentum until the late 1960's after the Civil Rights
Movement had stalled.
On the other hand, William Julius Wilson provides a more coherent explanation of the demise of the Civil Rights
Movement. Wilson says the movement failed because it did not effectively address the economic plight of inner city Blacks
living in the North. This failure was caused by the leadership of the Civil Rights Movement which had little connection with
Blacks in the ghetto. The leaders of the movement were from the Southern middle-class Blacks; who were either college
students, teachers, preachers, or lawyers.41 Like the leaders of the First Reconstruction, the leaders of the Civil Rights
Movement lacked understanding of the economic needs of the Black lower-class. Instead of addressing the economic plight of
Northern Black ghettoes, the Civil Rights Movement continued to push for broad political and civil rights. Inhabitants of
Northern Ghettoes, were trapped not by Jim Crow, but by poverty and de facto segregation. Nonviolent protests, marches,
pickets, and rallies did nothing to change poor housing, lack of employment, and inferior schools.
However, the Civil Rights Movement's battles to end Jim Crow in the South and obtain passage of Civil Rights acts in the
1960's raised awareness of lower-class Blacks in the ghetto to racism and increased their impatience with police brutality and
economic injustice. This heightened awareness of racism in their community and desperation over their plight, turned poor
urban Blacks into matches and ghettoes into kindling. The Riots from 1965 to 1968 became a way to raise economic issues the
Civil Rights Movement had ignored. The Riots were caused, not just by desperation, they had been desperate for years, not
just by a heightened awareness of racism, they had been aware of it before 1965, but because they found no answers to their
plight. Neither White politicians nor civil rights leaders had solutions for their economic needs.42
Wilson's analysis thus far provides as answer for the riots and subsequent White backlash. However, Wilson's
explanation of the emergence and appeal of Black Power is lacking. Wilson says Black Power's emergence was caused by
riots in the summers from 1965 to 1968. But these riots occurred after Black Power had emerged inside the Civil Rights
Movement. In the spring of 1965 the leadership of SNCC and CORE had expelled its White members, rejected integration as
a goal, and elected black separatists as presidents.43 Instead, I see the emergence of the Black Power Movement as related
to the failure of the Civil Rights Movement to address lower-class frustration with economic injustice, and de facto racism in the
North. Black Power, as a movement, had many facets and leaders. Black Power leaders were from the lower-class while the
Civil Rights Movements leaders were from the middle-class. Stokely Carmichael, a poor immigrant from Trinidad; Eldridge
Cleaver, the son of a Texas carpenter, and went to jail for rape44; Huey Newton, before becoming a political leader, was a
hustler. Other leaders such as Angela Davis gravitated to the movement because of its mix of Marxist and nationalist economic
politics.45 The rise of these leaders was a result of the Civil Rights Movement's failure before 1965, to articulate a program of
racial justice for poor Blacks in the North; in this absence violent, vocal and angry leaders emerged to fill this void. Leaders
such as H. Rap Brown called for "killing the honkies," James Brown called for Black pride with his song "Say It Loud- I'm
Black and I'm Proud."
Black Power provided poor Blacks with psychological and economic solutions to their problems. Psychologically it
brought about a shift in Black consciousness a shift that made being Black beautiful, no longer as W.E.B. Du Bois wrote in
1905 were Blacks a "Seventh Son." But equally important the Black Power Movement tried to provide economic answers to
urban Blacks with answers such as: racial separatism, moving back to Africa, taking over the government, and taking "what
was theirs" from whites. Although these solutions ultimately proved unworkable for solving economic problems, they tried,
while the Civil Rights movement did not attempt solutions.
The failure of the Civil Rights Movement in articulating and pursuing a plan of economic justice for lower-class Blacks
doomed the movement's goal of integration, furthering de facto segregation in housing and schools. The end of Jim Crow did
not end the income difference between Whites and Blacks. In 1954, Blacks earned approximately 53% of what whites earned,
and in 1980 they earned 57% what an average White earns. At this rate racial equality in average income would come in 250
years.46 This racial inequality in income left unaddressed by the Civil Rights Movement, forces poor Blacks to remain in
deteriorating slums in cities, while whites flee to the suburbs. The de facto segregation that has emerged has shifted the good
jobs to suburbs and relegated lower-class Blacks in cities to diminishing job prospects. This has caused rising rates of
unemployment, economic desperation, and jobs predominantly in the low-wage sector. This poverty cycle among lower-class
Blacks remains after vestiges of legal Jim Crow have disappeared.47 White flight to suburbs and the poverty trap of the inner
city for Blacks has been so great that in 1980 the number of segregated schools surpassed the number of segregated schools
before 1954.48
Both the First and Second Reconstructions left Blacks with no economic base, dependent on others for their social and
political power. And as in the First Reconstruction, when those political alliances did not serve the needs of the whites in
power, Blacks were abandoned and their political and social goals wiped out. In the 1990's most political leaders have long
given up on the plight of the Black urban poor. Mandatory busing is fast being eliminated in major cities, and Black leaders cry
out for help to a President and Congress more interested in balancing the budget, cutting welfare costs, and spending on the
military then dealing with the complicated cycle of urban poverty.
Though, the two Reconstructions held out great promise and hope to Blacks in America, both failed to achieve their
broad goals and in subsequent decades much of their accomplishments washed away. Yet, both brought significant permanent
changes. The First Reconstruction ended slavery and the second ended legal segregation. But just as the First Reconstruction
disintegrated by the 1890's because of the failure of the federal government to create a viable economic base for freed slaves,
the Second Reconstruction did not result in a fully integrated society because it too failed to fundamentally change the economic
condition of poor Blacks.
The Black experience in America is a contradiction for there is no one black experience just as there is no one white
experience. In the same way, the failure of the First and Second Reconstructions was caused not by one event but by many.
The failings of these Reconstructions are not as simple as racism, politics, or individual events; to single out one to explain such
complicated periods gives an incomplete picture of both history and the nature of racism. The leaders of both the First and
Second Reconstructions fell into this trap and sought to solve racial inequality through political means. Their failure to see the
economic dimensions of racism was key to the demise of the First and Second Reconstructions. While far from the movements
only failing it is a factor that has been ignored by historians such as C. Vann Woodward and William Julius Wilson. America
still has a long way to go to reach a place where "little Black boys and Black girls will be able to join hands with little White
boys and White girls as sisters and brothers." We are still a divided society- economically if not legally. We are divided
between the inner city ghettoes of South Central LA and the mansions of Beverly Hills; between Harlem's abandoned buildings
and the plush apartments of Park Avenue. Racial injustice will never be solved with mere politics and laws, anger and
separatism. If we fail to bridge this divide the question of the Twenty-First century like the Twentieth will be that of the color
line.

Endnotes

1 Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution (New York: Harper and Row, 1988) p.228.

2 Ibid. pp.124-125.

3 Eli Ginzberg and Alfred S. Eichner, Troublesome Presence: Democracy and Black Americans (London:
Transaction Publishers, 1993) p. 148.

4 Ibid. p. 152.

5 Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution (New York: Harper and Row, 1988) pp.229-231.

6 Daniel J. Mcinerney, The Fortunate Heirs of Freedom: Abolition and the Republican Party (Lincoln: University
of Nebraska Press, 1994) p.151.

7 Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution (New York: Harper and Row, 1988) pp.228-251.

8 The transformation of the goals of Reconstruction was caused by Johnson's veto of nearly every Reconstruction
bill. This forced Moderates to join the Radical Republicans in an alliance against President Johnson. Eli Ginzberg
and Alfred S. Eichner, Troublesome Presence: Democracy and Black Americans (London: Transaction Publishers,
1993) p.153.

9 Ibid. p.159.

10 Ibid. p. 161.

11 A total of twenty-two Blacks served in the House of Representatives during Reconstruction. C. Eric Lincoln,
The Negro Pilgrimage in America (New York: Bantam, 1967) p.65.

12 In the Presidential election of 1876, the Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, captured a majority of the popular vote and
lead in the electoral college results. But the electoral votes of three Southern States still under Republican rule
were in doubt, as Ginzberg writes, "In all three states the Republicans controlled the returning boards which had to
certify the election results, and in all three states they certified their own parties ticket. As the history books
reveal, the crisis was finally overcome when the Southern Democrats agreed to support the Republican Candidate
Rutherford B. Hayes, as a part of a larger compromise (The Compromise of 1877). Hayes promised in return to
withdraw Federal troops from the South." Eli Ginzberg and Alfred S. Eichner, Troublesome Presence: Democracy
and Black Americans (London: Transaction Publishers, 1993) pp. 182-183.

13 C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974) p. 54.

14 Southern Democrats were comprised of Southern elites and formed a coalition with Blacks to prevent poor
Whites from passing economic initiatives such as free silver, the break up of monopolies, and labor laws. Gerald
Gaither, Blacks and the Populist Revolt: Ballots and Bigotry In the New South (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms,
1972) p.299.

15 The Coalition between poor Whites was based on a paternalistic order as C. Vann Woodward explains, "Blacks
continued to vote in large numbers and hold minor offices and a few seats in Congress, but this could be turned to
account by the Southern White Democrats who had trouble with White lower-class rebellion." C. Vann Woodward,
Origins of a New South (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1951) p.254.

16 Howard N. Robinowitz, Southern Black Leaders of the Reconstruction Era ( Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1982) p.396.

17 Ibid. p.398.

18 C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974) p. 85.

19 William Julius Wilson, The Declining Significance of Race (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980) p.63.

20 Until 1900, the only type of Jim Crow law (a law which legally segregates races) prevalent in the South was one
applying to passengers aboard trains in the first class section. C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim
Crow (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974) p. 67.

21 Woodward sees the failure of Reconstruction as related to three events. First, it was brought about by the rise
of racist theories and ideas in intellectual circles around 1890. These ideas, such as eugenics and social Darwinism
eroded support among elite groups such as Southern Democrats and Northern Republicans for political equality for
Blacks. Second, the rise of United States imperialism lead by the Republican party starting in 1898, undercut the
ability and willingness of Northern Republicans to be the moral authority on racial equality. Third, the emergence
of the populist movement in the late 1880's and 1890's forced the White elites to abandon their alliance with
Blacks. This was because both the populists and the Southern Democrats sought the Black vote and when neither
could be assured of controlling it, both Parties realized that it would be far better for them to disenfranchise the
Black population than fight for its votes. C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1974) pp.82-83.

22 Wilson sees the emergence of Jim Crow and disenfranchisement of Blacks as related to three major events.
First, the recession of the 1890's and the boll weevil blight brought Blacks and Whites in the lower-classes in
intense competition for a shrinking pool of jobs. This intensification of competition between these groups
manifested itself in White supremacy. Second, the rise of the labor movement in the 1890's lead to the rise of
lower-class Whites to power this allowed them to codify into law Jim Crow which reflected their view of Blacks as
competition in the labor market. Third, the migration of Blacks to urban areas in the North, and the use of Blacks
as strike-breakers in Northern factories, created racial hostility among lower-class Whites toward Blacks. This
forced Northern Republicans to no longer focus on racial equality because it undermined their support among
White labor. William Julius Wilson, The Declining Significance of Race (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1980) pp.59-60.

23 Howard N. Robinowitz, Southern Black Leaders of the Reconstruction Era ( Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1982) p.400.

24 Ibid. p.399.

25 Gerald Gaither, Blacks and the Populist Revolt: Ballots and Bigotry In the New South (Ann Arbor: University
Microfilms, 1972) p. 302.

26 Eli Ginzberg and Alfred S. Eichner, Troublesome Presence: Democracy and Black Americans (London:
Transaction Publishers, 1993) p. 134.

27 Ibid. pp. 132-133.

28 Ibid. p.135.

29 W.E.B. Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk (New York: Bantam Books, 1989) p.28.

30 Eli Ginzberg and Alfred S. Eichner, Troublesome Presence: Democracy and Black Americans (London:
Transaction Publishers, 1993) p. 201.

31 Ibid. p.203.

32 Harvard Sitkoff, The Struggle for Black Equality (New York: Hill and Wang, 1989) pp.162.

33 Although the March on Washington was called a march for, "Freedom and Jobs" the goals of the March were
political and social and not economic. The reason the March was called a march for, "Freedom and Jobs" was the
idea for the march came from A. Philip Randolph, head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Randolph first
proposed the march in 1941 to get President Roosevelt to open up defense jobs for blacks. But the march did not
gather widespread support at the time. Then in 1962 Randolph planed a march for economic justice for Blacks. The
idea was supported by CORE, SNCC, and SCLC. Martin Luther King's SCLC then took over organizing the
march and downgraded Randolph's economic demands. Ibid. pp.159-161.

34 Ibid. p.96.

35 William Harris, The Harder We Run: Black Workers since the Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press,
1982) p.153.

36 Harvard Sitkoff, The Struggle for Black Equality (New York: Hill and Wang, 1989) p.199.

37 Between 1965 and 1968 there were over three hundred race riots in American cities. Woodward concludes that
these riots helped bring about the end of the Civil Rights Movement by creating factions within the movement as
different groups pursued different policies to rectify injustice in the Northern ghettos. The Riots also created a
backlash among the White populace which manifested itself in the defeat of the 1966 Civil Rights Act and the
election of Richard Nixon in 1968. Ibid. pp..222-223.

38 The rise of racial separatism and extremism manifested itself within SNCC and CORE and the formation of
Black Separatist groups such as the Black Panthers, the Weathermen, and RAM. The rhetoric of extremists inside
SNCC and in other groups captured television camera's and although Reverend Martin Luther King continued to
march and speak, the face of the Civil Rights Movement became that of Angela Davis and Huey Newton; the song
of the Civil Rights Movement changed from Reverend Martin Luther King's, "We Shall Overcome," to Stokely
Carmichael's, "We Shall Overrun." Ibid. p..217.

39 Ibid. p.145.

40 In 1963, Malcolm X was the most quoted Black spokesman, "He played to the media, conjuring fantasies of jet
fleets, piloted by Blacks, someday bombing all White neighborhoods." Ibid. p.154.

41 These Blacks were from what E. Franklin Frazier calls, "the Black Bourgeoisie." E. Franklin Frazier, Black
Bourgeoisie (New York: Free Press, 1957) pp.103-104.

42 Leaders have emerged such as Minister Louis Farrakhan and Colin Powell, who either propose Black
Capitalist, and nationalist solutions to the plight of the urban poor, much like Marcus Garvey in the 1920's, or they
provide accommodationist views of the Black struggle in America which meets with the approval of White elites
much like Booker T. Washington at the turn of the century. Cornel West, Race Matters (New York, Random
House, 1994) p.57.

43 Harvard Sitkoff, The Struggle for Black Equality (New York: Hill and Wang, 1989) p.212.

44 Kathleen Rout, Eldridge Cleaver (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991) p.80.

45 Angela Davis, Frame Up (San Francisco: National Committee To Free Angela Davis, 1972) p.7.

46 Harvard Sitkoff, The Struggle for Black Equality (New York: Hill and Wang, 1989) p.234.

47 Civil Rights initiatives though have helped the Black middle-class who have experienced unprecedented job
prospects as they have been able to escape the urban ghettos and take advantage of jobs in the corporate and
government sector. This points to what Wilson calls, "the declining significance of race in determining poverty,"
instead of race dictating someone's economic status, the status of their class is what determines their economic
future; with the poor Blacks getting poorer and middle-class Blacks becoming wealthier. Because of this economic
inequality in the Black community has grown more than inequality in the White community. William Julius Wilson,
The Declining Significance of Race (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980) pp.151-154.

48 Harvard Sitkoff, The Struggle for Black Equality (New York: Hill and Wang, 1989) p.231.

 



 

 



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