TeacherServe Essays

Racial Uplift Ideology in the Era of “The Negro Problem”

Author: Gaines, Kevin K. (NHC Fellow, 1996–97)

The ideology of racial uplift, the idea that educated blacks are responsible for the welfare of the majority of the race, was a response to the assault on African American civil and political rights in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. African American leaders combated stereotypes by emphasizing class differences among blacks that echoed the stereotypes themselves. Uplift ideology undermined collective social advancement. With the Great Migration the politics of mass protest began to replace uplift as the way toward black social advancement.

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Subjects: History; Education Studies; Racial Uplift; African American History; Racism; Civil Rights; Great Migration; Stereotypes