Period 3

The Problem(s)

  • The average life expectancy of African Americans was only 33 years, which was twelve years less than whites.
  • There was a big difference in education between African Americans and whites. Less than half of all African American adults were literate. Most didn’t go to high school, and African American schools received a fraction of the money spent on schools.
  • Most African Americans still lived in the south, worked on farms, and were poor. Not much had changed since slavery, as most African Americans were toiling on farms for little money.
  • Throughout the south, a social degradation system of African Americans called Jim Crow was used. This system prevented African Americans from voting and other rights of citizenship.
  • Conditions in the north weren’t much better. About half of the African American population in the south moved north, and found that they received the same treatment.
  • One of the worst problems for African Americans in the south was lynching. This is where a mob of people capture somebody and hangs him/her without permission from the government and without a trial. These were common in the south. Most lynchings were started because the mob declared that the African American had tried to rape a white woman. But as these became a commonplace in society, rural towns started using them for entertainment, and little was done to stop it.

The Solution(s)

  • Activists such as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Marcus Garvey led the African American community. The African American community was split between the late 19th century and early 20th century because each activist had a different view on African Americans role in American society. Washington felt that segregation was a good thing while Du Bois did not. Garvey felt that all African Americans should go back to Africa instead of staying in America.
  • Du Bois founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or NAACP in 1911. The organizations goal was improving African Americans place in American society. It did this by taking federal laws to court such as the Jim Crow laws. Slowly the organization started to make a difference especially in areas of segregated education and public transportation.
  • After three of her male friends African-American journalist Ida Wells-Barnett started an anti-lynching movement. The NAACP started to publicly address lynching by organizing public meetings, talk to public officials, and start press investigations. From 1900-1922 two anti-lynching bills were introduced but both failed to become laws.

The Images


The Primary Sources

"One ever feels his twoness—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife—this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self." - W.E.B Du Bois

"To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." - W.E.B Du Bois

"Succes is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed." - Booker T. Washington

The Citations

"W.E.B Du Bois: quote on African Americans." The Souls of Black Folk
1903. Feb. 21, 2007. http://www.americanhistory.abc-clio.com/library/searches/searchdisplay.aspx?fulltext=w.e.b+du+bois&nav=rlist&entryid=281379&categorytypeid=1>

"W.E.B Du Bois: quote on poverty." The Souls of Black Folk
1903. Feb. 21, 2007. http://www.americanhistory.abc-clio.com/library/searches/searchdisplay.aspx?fulltext=w.e.b+du+bois&nav=rlist&entryid=281380&categorytypeid=1>

"Booker T. Washington: quote on success." Up From Slavery
1901. Feb. 21, 2007. <http://www.americanhistory.abc-clio.com/library/searches/searchdisplay.aspx?fulltext=booker+t+washington&nav=rlist&entryid=281675&categorytypeid=1>

Lynching poster and forth lynching picture

Second lynching picture

Third lynching picture