Women Leaders…

African American History Since
the Civil War
dr. Liz Bryant
African-American Female Leadership
• There were lots of women who took active
roles during this era
• Did not sit around waiting for men to take care
of the situation
Turn-Of-The-Century Women
• Many were educated
• Worked as teachers, journalists
Why Are the Accomplishments of
Women Overlooked?
• Sexism of the era
• Black women faced the “double burden” of
racism and sexism
• Face many unique issues
• HOWEVER, they continue to fight for their
Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells Background
Daughter of slaves
Parents emphasized education
Trained as a journalist
Worked as a teacher
Ida B. Wells and the Civil Rights
• Got involved after being forcibly removed
from a train after refusing to sit in the African
American car
• Sued
Wells’ Activism
• Worked as a journalist
• Used pseudonym of “Iola”
• Discussed conditions of blacks in America
Wells’ Biggest Focus during the 1890s
Campaign Against Lynching
• Wells’ biggest campaign is against lynching
• Gets involved after a friend of hers is
What happened to Southern Blacks
Who Challenged the System?
Lynching of African Americans was an all too common occurrence.
• Common
• Popular for people to go to with their families
• Nothing was done to the lynchers
(townspeople pretended not to know about
• Justification by whites was that black men
were trying to rape white women
• Problem with this:
– Many relationships between black men and white
women were consensual
– Many of the people who were lynched were never
accused of sex crimes
– What happened if a black woman was raped?
Wells and Lynching
• Wells was so upset about the murder of her
friend that she travelled through the South
investigating lynchings
• Published her findings
• Whites were angry and Wells and threatened
her safety
National Association of Colored
National Association of Colored
Founders: Ida B Wells and Harriet
Founders: Frances E.W. Harper and
Josephine St. Pierre
Founders: Margaret Murray
Washington and Mary Church Terrell
National Association of Colored
• “Lifting as we climb”
National Association of Colored
• Focus:
– Job training
– Wage equity
– Childcare
National Association of Colored
• Want:
– End to lynching
– End to segregated transportation
– Improved prison conditions
National Association of Colored
• Support:
– Women’s suffrage campaigns
National Association of Colored
• Influential organization
• By 1917, have over 300,000 members
Ida B. Wells
• Continues to push for a federal anti-lynching
• Becomes one of the founders of the NAACP
Mary Church Terrell
Mary Church Terrell
Mary Church Terrell
• Daughter of former slaves
• Attended Oberlin College
– BA
– MA
– One of the first African-Americans to earn her BA
Mary Church Terrell
• Focus on women’s rights
• Very disappointed the suffrage movement
often excluded African-Americans
Mary Church Terrell
• Focus on education
• First African-American woman ever appointed
to a school board
National Association of College
Mary Church Terrell
• Worked as a journalist
– Euphemia Kirk
Mary Church Terrell
• Founder of the NAACP
– She and Wells were the only two women initially
invited to join this movement
Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin
Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin
• Raised in Boston
• Educated at private schools
Women’s Era
Women’s Era
• Ruffin serves as editor from 1890-97
Women’s Era
• First newspaper published for and by AfricanAmerican women
• Wanted black women to push for increased
• Highlighted the accomplishments of black
National Federation of Afro-American
• "...we are women, American women, as
intensely interested in all that pertains to us as
such as all other American women; we are not
alienating or withdrawing, we are only coming
to the front, willing to join any others in the
same work and welcoming any others to join
National Federation of Afro-American
• Later merged into the National Association of
Colored Women
New Era Club
• Advocacy club for black women
“Ruffin Incident”
• 1900
• General Federation of Women’s Clubs
• Refused to seat her because of the New Era’s
Club all black membership
• “…colored women should confine themselves
to their clubs and the large field of work open
to them there."
Booker T Washington
Booker T Washington
Booker T Washington
Booker T Washington
• Known as “the” turn-of-the-century black
leader in America
Washington’s Background
• Mixed race: black mother, white father
• Born a slave
• After emancipation, worked in the coal mines
* Always placed a high value on education
* Woke up at 4 am to teach himself how to
read and write
Hampton Institute
Hampton Institute
• Washington attended the Hampton Institute
• Worked as a janitor to pay his tuition
• Shapes his perspective towards education
Tuskegee Institute
Tuskegee Institute
Tuskegee Institute
Tuskegee Institute
Founded 1881
Initially had no buildings, land, etc.
Washington was supposed to build the
university from the ground up
Tuskegee Institute
• Fast growth
• 1888
– 540 acres
– 400 students enrolled
• 1906
– 2000 acres
– 1500 students enrolled
Tuskegee Institute
• Focused on industrial education
Industrial Education
• Focused on practical skills
• Washington believed that this was a way to
get blacks out of debt
• Wanted blacks to have:
– Self-employment
– Land ownership
– Small business ownership
Whites and Tuskegee
• Whites primarily funded Tuskegee. Why?
• Northern Whites
– Liked that Washington promoted the Protestant
work ethic
• Southern Whites
– Liked that Washington expressed that his school
would do nothing to challenge white social
supremacy or white economic interests
Blacks Reaction to Washington’s
• Seen as very controversial
Washington and Race Relations
• Believed racial subordination was a necessary
• Felt like blacks needed to prove themselves to
achieve equality
Cotton States and Industrial Expo
Cotton States and Industrial Expo
• When Washington really rose to national
Atlanta Compromise Speech
• To those of the white race who look to the incoming of
those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits for the
prosperity of the South, were I permitted, I would repeat
what I have said to my own race: “Cast down your bucket
where you are.” Cast it down among the eight millions of
Negroes whose habits you know, whose fidelity and love
you have tested in days when to have proved treacherous
meant the ruin of your fireside. Cast down your bucket
among these people who have without strikes and labor
wars tilled your fields, cleared your forests, builded your
railroads and cities, brought forth treasures from the
bowels of the earth, just to make possible this magnificent
representation of the progress of the South.
Atlanta Compromise Speech
• Whites- loved it
• Washington did not seem like a threat to them
Washington 1895-1915
• “The” black leader in America
“Up From Slavery”
“Up From Slavery”
• Washington’s autobiography
• Seen by whites as being non-confrontational
Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard
Washington Served As A Presidential
• Washington had access to the White House
• First time an African-American had served as
an advisor (even unofficially) to the President
• Liked him because he seemingly accepted the
principles of racial subordination
• Allowed him to recommend candidates for
minor political posts
Black Intellectuals and Washington
• Generally do not support him
Working Class Blacks and Washington
• Seen as a hero
Washington In Private
• Quietly works behind the scenes to challenge
Jim Crow
• Funds lawsuits
• Wrote letters against segregation
• Worked to protect blacks from lynch mobs
Washington’s Legacy
• Mixed
• Questions about how much of his public
persona was just an act
W.E.B. Du Bois
W.E.B. Du Bois
• The other most influential black leader in
turn-of-the-century America
W.E.B. Du Bois
Raised in Boston
Went to Fisk College
Received a Ph.D. from Harvard
Atlanta University
The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study
“Talented Tenth”
• Belief that the top ten percent of AfricanAmericans would lead the race
• Believed they could achieve this by:
– Continuing their education
– Writing books
– Becoming involved in social change
“Talented Tenth”
• "The Negro race, like all races, is going to be
saved by its exceptional men. The problem of
education, then, among Negroes must first of
all deal with the Talented Tenth; it is the
problem of developing the Best of this race
that they may guide the Mass away from the
contamination and death of the Worst.”
Du Bois’ Views on Education
• Believed in the importance of a classical
• Believed that this was the only way that
African-Americans could distinguish
themselves as leaders
Du Bois and Washington
The Souls of Black Folk
“Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and
• Very critical of Washington
– Accomodationist policies
– Atlanta Compromise Speech
– Seeming acceptance of segregation for economic
– Did not like Washington’s emphasis on industrial
The Souls of Black Folk
• “Double Consciousness”
• Referred to being Black and American
William Monroe Trotter
The Niagara Movement
The Niagara Movement
The Niagara Movement
• Founded by Du Bois and Trotter
• Meant to combat the power of Washington
The Niagara Movement
• “We want full manhood suffrage and we
want it now.... We are men! We want to
be treated as men. And we shall win."
The Niagara Movement
• Precursor to the NAACP
Du Bois and the American Historical
• First African-American invited to speak at the
• Discussed “Black Reconstruction”
– Went against the mainstream historical view
– Touted accomplishments blacks made during
Du Bois
The Crisis
Du Bois
• One of the founders of the NAACP
• Very active in this organization
• Editor of The Crisis
William Monroe Trotter
William Monroe Trotter
• From Boston
• Got BA and MA from Harvard
Trotter and the Civil Rights Movement
• Saw segregation was getting worse in the
north and wanted to combat it
• Believed Washington’s accomodationist
policies did not work
Boston Guardian
Boston Guardian
• Weekly newspaper
• Trotter- editor
• Spoke out against Washington
Washington vs. Trotter
• Washington tried to silence Trotter’s criticisms
of him
• Sued Trotter for libel
• Had people spy on Trotter for him
Trotter and Du Bois
• Establish the Niagara Movement
Niagara Movement
Niagara Movement
Niagara Movement
Niagara Movement
• 1905
• Du Bois and Trotter call a meeting of 59
• Goal was to form an organization that would
offer an alternative to Washington
Niagara Movement
• "We claim for ourselves every single right that
belongs to a freeborn American, political, civil
and social; and until we get these rights we will
never cease to protest and assail the ears of
America. The battle we wage is not for ourselves
alone but for all true Americans. It is a fight for
ideals, lest this, our common fatherland, false to
its founding, become in truth the land of the thief
and the home of the slave -- a byword and a
hissing among the nations for its sounding
pretensions and pitiful accomplishment."
Niagara Movement
Had over 30 branches
Never enough funding
Weak organizationally
– Mainly due to conflicts between Du Bois and
Washington and the Niagara
• Spoke out against it in the black press
Niagara Movement
• Disbands after the founding of the NAACP

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