The political experience of Blacks in Northern states between World War I and the New Deal showed to which extent the dissatisfaction of Blacks with the Republican patronage and their policies occurred especially when the depression intensified their sufferings Giffin, African Americans When in the South Blacks were living in permanent circumstances of disfranchisement, intimidation and violence, the Southern States, on the one hand, relegated the African American to his proper initial political and social sphere by adopting Jim Crow laws.
On the other hand, and as a matter of fact, African Americans could not vote for Republicans even if any campaigned in the solidly Democratic white South. Protest was met with the draconian state of repression or terror - lynching was the most frequent of techniques. Du Bois. Consequently African Americans adopted another kind of political expression in response to the disfranchisement in the South and the Black Republican purge by changing party allegiance.
In short, the Lily-White strategy employed by Hoover precipitated a significant enough shift in partisan African American identity to make the national Democratic Party competitive with the GOP by the coming of the New Deal. The Republican Party was once the concerted choice for Black Americans. The Republican Party was formed on the basis of opposing the policy of slavery dealings and limiting its expansion in the United States. Under slavery, the social and economic control of Black people was total and was fully reinforced by all levels of legislation, from the federal government to the smallest districts in the South.
The greatest impact was felt in the South, where over 90 percent of the Black population resided Orey Fearing a potential threat to their political and economic hegemony, however, white Southerners bitterly resented the Republican-Black regimes that were formed accordingly. However, the American Civil War and Reconstruction were the years of emancipation.
In , Ulysses S.
Grant was elected President with the help of Southern African Americans, who were voting for the first time in a presidential election Moore They also encouraged Black participation in Republican politics during Reconstruction . Blacks enthusiastically played prominent roles in Reconstruction governments in the South in different positions: as lieutenant governors, members of state legislatures, speakers of state houses of representatives, and secretaries of state. Consequently, this period established the Republican Party as the liberator of slaves and enhanced the allegiance of the overwhelming majority of Blacks to it.
Therefore, Blacks became loyal members of the Party ever since.
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Unfortunately, this acquisition did not last long as Blacks were going to suffer more than ever before their emancipation at the hands of Southern Democrats who wanted to uphold their supremacy. Once Northerners secured their economic and political dominance of the South, Republicans began to retreat from policies favorable to Blacks. They left white Southerners alone to deal with Blacks . In the Compromise of , which settled the basis for a period of reconciliation between the North and the South, Blacks were abandoned to their fate and the Republican Party abandoned its Black constituency in the South after the Reconstruction period Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks ; Orey , Republicans agreed to withdraw federal involvement in the government of Southern States in exchange for Southern electoral votes to retain the presidency.
Congress ceased appropriations for federal marshals to protect Black voters, and eventually retreated behind closed doors, where Southern Democrats conceded the presidency to Hayes in exchange for the end of Union occupation of the defeated Confederacy. This compromise cleared the path for Southern states to institute Jim Crow which meant that Blacks became vulnerable to the white oppression Lacewell 6.
Hence, Democrats regained power and worked tooth and nail to disenfranchise Black voters and enforce segregation in order to retrieve their self-esteem. Soon, a profusion of Jim Crow laws for disfranchisement was developed. These severe measures were conservative devices to minimize the Black vote and to keep the Black man in the place to which he was assigned. They were also indicative of the bitter resentment white Southerners had for Black Republicans. Despite their blind loyalty to the party for over half a century, Blacks found little hope for amelioration in politics.
There had been a great disenchantment of Blacks with Republicans well before President William McKinley initiated an overwhelming policy of disfranchisement in the South, he was committed to sectional reconciliation, and he ignored the disfranchisement, segregation, lynching, and poverty suffered by Blacks Orey In , the Progressive Theodor Roosevelt became President, bringing together the progressive cause and the Republican Party. Despite his initial record of interest to Blacks, the most lasting legacy was the alienation of a number of young Black leaders, including Mary Church Terrell and Archibald Grimke.
Although he relied on Black conservative educator Booker T. Theodore Roosevelt publicly opposed lynching, too. However, he was not different from the other white presidents of the progressive era. He indeed disappointed Blacks during his second term by summarily discharging three companies of Black soldiers; the soldiers had been accused of refusing to inform on fellow soldiers who were charged with terrorizing the town of Brownsville, Texas Sherman Southern white GOP officials after wanted to preserve their grasp on local patronage jobs by embracing Jim Crow.
They also passed more anti-Black legislation than it has never been done before . Courting the support of Southern whites, Taft did not appoint any Blacks to federal offices in the South where there was local white opposition. Neither president was able to crack down the solid South.
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Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft followed the lead of Hayes by also adhering to a hands-off policy. Disfranchised and demoralized, few Blacks voted these years leading to a greater indifference of both parties to the Black vote, as they would not be held accountable anymore.
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When there was any legislation to be introduced to protect Blacks, Democrats convinced Republicans to join them in their disregard and neglect of civil and voting rights for Blacks. Southern Democrats had such common values, and principles that made the South a one-party region until the civil rights movement began in the s. No president dared interfere or succeeded in doing so until the late s. Because Southern Democrats were automatically re-elected at every election occasion, and due to seniority in the Congress, they were able to control most of the committees in both houses of Congress, and oppose and kill any civil rights legislation.
That is why no president did daringly challenge the well-soldered Southern block by endorsing any proposals for social and political progress for Blacks. Washington Jordan With the NAACP, the Urban League, emerging as early as , occurred the tremendous flowering of the organized struggle of Black people that played a decisive role in the politics of the s.
The fact, however, is that these Black leaders were at the same time outstanding leaders in the Black community and played a prominent role in its councils and political life. Many of them had participated in progressive causes before Haywood Consequently, they were able to secure certain influence and made significant contribution to Black welfare. Blacks labored mightily to register voters and enjoyed some relative success.
Meanwhile, Black leaders continued to debate a long range of strategies to voice their protests as lynching reinforced the legal barriers of white domination. From the old means of accommodationism and self-help by Booker T. Washington, to the civil rights protests proclaimed by Ida B. This meant one thing: nurtured by the traditions of protest, activism, and resistance, some work was under achievement that would develop into a social and political resurgence in the next decades.
The spread of industrial capitalism in the North and terror in the South changed fundamentally Blacks' economic, political, and social life at the local as well as at the national level. The deteriorating economic situation in the South, and the great migration were among the essential factors that negatively affected the life of Blacks. In addition, the First World War established a new community among Blacks that was able to share in the affairs of the nation at a larger scale Franklin Most importantly, the Great Depression of the s established a new Black society with new experiences and strategies in all aspects of life.
The Intersections of Anti Blackness and Anti Communism
Many Black writers, poets, and university graduates exploited these circumstances to voice their protests against racial segregation beginning by the Harlem Renaissance and on to the Black working class movement of the s and s. The hardships encountered at the hands of white supremacists, almost infinitely, hindered the most capable of them to reach dignity and self-esteem, and were enough to awaken in Blacks a kind of self-consciousness and awareness of their critical status.
They continued the struggle during the s and s that culminated with the civil rights movement of the s. However, the circumstances were so hard to achieve such goals at once. By the dawn of the twentieth century, Blacks were almost extinct from political life as government and politics had become inaccessible and more complicated to most Black Americans. In the South they were completely barred from politics while in the North they were a small minority that blindly voted for the republican machine Schlesinger, The Politics of Upheaval The profusion and persistence of Jim Crow laws effectively blocked the possibility of Blacks engaging in electoral politics.
While the tide of lynching and other forms of anti-Black violence and terrorism reinstated the whites' hegemony, Blacks began looking for ways to overturn the status quo. The social repression of Black people aggravated enormously with the violent genocidal practices of lynching. Table 1 below provides figures about the number of lynching that occurred between and These data, of course, give only a glimmering idea about the intensity and. In the years following the end of the Civil War, more than five thousand African Americans were lynched and not a single president denounced the atrocities.
In consequence, Blacks adopted another kind of political expression in response to the disfranchisement in the South. Such response was a long-term migration from the South to the urban North Orey By the turn of the twentieth century, the Black population had known a tremendous change and movement from the old restraints of rural life to a new multi-dimensional life in urban centers. Before Blacks were overwhelmingly located in the rural South-over 90 percent before Goldfield They were almost invisible to the world and to the country.
However, the situation began to change between and , and boosted by the WWII, thus affecting the whole structure of the Black population within the country and its politics providing an appealing opportunity for urban and Northern politicians. The migration changed the nature of Black population in two ways: first, it resulted in a massive movement out of the South and into the North making a shift of population from the Black Belt  where slaves had been concentrated for agricultural work, to the industrial states of the Northeast and Midwest.
The urban population, consequently, increased by nearly From the figures in Table 2 see p 21 , it is clear that the main growth of population was in the largest industrial states of the Northeast and Midwest. Second, Blacks in both the North and the South became increasingly urbanized throughout the 20th century. Blacks changed from rural farmers to urban workers, consequently, exposed to new experiences in different situations.
It was mainly aimed to making a better living including better jobs, better schools, more freedom, and a less racist environment. Once Black communities established in Northern cities, the flow of Southern migrants continued for decades Lemann A number of forces were driving Blacks out of the South and into Northern and Western cities.
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Socioeconomic and political conditions in the South made Blacks likely candidates for migration Crew Actually, Blacks had no other choice than to leave the South. In the late nineteenth century, depression and lack of opportunity in the South sent some of the most adventurous or the more desperate on their way. Never mind that they would suffer at the hands of the Northerners. Conditions in the North were telling of a more advantageous and prosperous life. Blacks in the North did not face legal barriers to voting and thus some actively took part in the political process.
He also joined the short-lived Freedom Now Party, an all-black organisation, during this period. These experiences, good and bad, would shape his thinking about the limitations of the Old Left and the need for a more assertive black politics, themes that would echo loudly within the emerging nationalist circles and reverberate throughout the decade. Like the left-sociologist C. It is not surprising that his breakout essay would appear in an organ of the emerging New Left. Studies on the Left provided Cruse with a platform to address multiple audiences, the communist partisans he longed to correct, the black radicals whom he hoped to inspire, the slumbering black elite who needed his alarm, as well as those who formed the budding New Left, students, artists and others who might well repeat the mistakes of their predecessors.
He sees the emergence of the Cuban revolution, and the inability of orthodox Marxists to foresee it, as symptomatic of their intellectual myopia. James asserted the revolutionary potential of the black movement, departing from the orthodox formula of class struggle which viewed the Northern mass worker as central protagonist of socialist revolution. After all, in the twenty years after , strikes were ten times more prevalent than they would be after His comments, however exaggerated, point to a set of political problems posed by the institutionalisation of capital-labour conflicts under social democracy.
Even though he appreciates the notion of working-class interests in a sociological sense, Cruse rejects the viability of a political project built on this basis. Here Cruse diminishes the material and ideological differences operating within the black world, in order to raise a call for more effective leadership, a nationalist bourgeoisie along the lines of a colonial territory.
In , the Republic of New Africa, an organisation formed by two Detroit-born brothers, Richard and Milton Henry, called for the formation of a black nation-state through the combination of five Southern states. The essay found devotees among the new nationalist crowd. Newton and Bobby Seale.
The Marxist Proposition, Claudia Jones, and Black Nationalism
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