TeacherServe Essays

“Somewhere” in the Nadir of African American History, 1890–1920

Author: Gilmore, Glenda Elizabeth (NHC Fellow, 2006–07)

Although textbooks tend to portray the history of African Americans as if not much happened between Reconstruction in the 1870s and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s, the period was actually a long war for civil rights. Black southerners fought back against disfranchisement and unequal treatment, the imposition of segregation, and the violent white people who perpetrated racial massacres and lynching. Despite the onslaught of white supremacy and a system of racialized capitalism, African Americans held hope that they would win the war for civil rights. African Americans’ visions of the future included equal opportunities and full citizenship, even as white supremacists took control of southern governments in the 1890s and consolidated their power in the first two decades of the twentieth century.

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History / Education Studies / Jim Crow Laws / African American History / Activism / Racism / White Supremacy / Civil Rights /