Equality for all

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Living in the time period from 1880 to 1920 was quite hard especially as an African American. It was a time of racial inequality and hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. Segregation was very popular at the time and even after the African Americans had been free from slavery and were allowed an education, many whites did not agree with this logic at all. With the northern troops gone after the reconstruction of the South, the white southerners unleashed their hate and had completely suppressed the African Americans.

The African Americans were excluded from voting and had to live under constant threat of violence from the white man. Along with this, the whites implemented the Jim Crow laws which set out to segregate African Americans on railroad carts, restaurants, and barber shops while also inducing other harmful and violent acts.

However, with all the hate and problems going on at the time, there where many promoters and activists that strived for a better world, a world where all people were equal among work, schools, and the law. These figures demonstrated tremendous courage in the face of violence and truly believed in what they stood for. During this period, there were several acts of greatness committed by these figures and among them are Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington, John Hope, and W.E.B Du Bois.

One of the most prominent figures of the time was the great Ida B. Wells. Booker T. Washington was an American educator and a dominant leader in the African American community. Being a prominent figure of the time, Washington did many things to support the African Americans and bring them to equal standards with the whites under the law. One of Washington’s greatest acts was the Atlanta Compromise.

In Washington’s speech he states that “no race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top” (Course Reader 13). His point here being that the white people must get off their high horse and look at the facts. African Americans and whites are the same, both human and there is no job or act where one should be deemed greater than the other. Washington’s goal of this speech wasn’t to try and show that the African Americans are better than the white man but to show how much they have actually helped with the reconstruction of the South.

A common phrase that Washington used throughout his speech was “cast down your bucket” (Course Reader 13). What he was doing here was playing on the hearts of the crowd to show that that the African Americans are the same people that helped till the fields, build the railroads, and clear the forest. They are the same people that “helped make possible [the] magnificent representation of the progress of the South” (Course Reader 13).

Washington had his own vision of the South where the African Americans and the white would work together for a better tomorrow, and he was able to achieve that with the Atlanta Compromise. The Atlanta Compromise strived to help African Americans by allowing them to receive a valid education and due process in law. In return, the African Americans would submit to white political rule and not demand their equality.

At this time, this was a tremendous step forward for both the African Americans and whites. Washington ended his speech saying that, with these changes we “will bring into our beloved South a new Heaven and a new earth” (Course Reader 15). Washington was able to grant the African Americans to right to a free education in the industrial and vocational industry and open some of the eyes of the white man to show that African Americans can be much more than cast out slaves in the society of the South.

However, on the other side of the spectrum stood the man John Hope. Like Washington, Hope was also an American educator but Hope was also an advocate of advanced liberal-arts instruction for blacks which was denied to the African Americans in Washington’s Atlanta Compromise. Hope strongly states in his “Critique of the Atlanta Compromise” that “if we are not striving for equality, in heaven’s name for what are we living” (Course Reader 16).

Hope actively disagree with Washington’s view and wanted to skip the games and go right to the source of the main problem; that African Americans should not only have educational rights but also political and social equality. In retaliation to Washington, Hope states “let us not fool ourselves nor be fooled by others” (Course Reader 16). This quite a power statement where Hope conveys to his fellow African Americans that they simple should not settle for less and give in to the compromise presented to them from Washington. Hope had the drive for something more, he wanted the African Americans to protest against these allegations and persist for equality politically, economically, and socially.

Another figure with common ideas and goals as Hope was W.E.B Du Bois. Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, author, and the first African American to earn a doctoral degree from Harvard University. Du Bois main focus was to gain full political rights and social equality same as Hope. So on July 11th, 12th, and 13th 1905, Du Bois and 28 other African American activists met at Niagara falls to host the meeting that would change the future for the better. At this meeting they discussed a variety of rights in which they should be granted such as civil liberty, economic opportunity, education, courts, public opinion, health, labor unions, and much more.

Du Bois stressed in each topic what they wanted for the African American community and what would be absolutely unacceptable moving forward. Du Bois believed that “all American citizens have the right to equal treatment in places of public entertainment according to their behavior and [what they deserve]” (Course Reader 28). Du Bois understood that African Americans were not above the law that they should be tried in court same as any other person if they commit a harmful or violent crime. He opposed the Jim Crow cars which made African Americans pay “first-class fare for third-class accommodations” (Course Reader 30). This was just one of many of the problems that Du Bois sought out to suppress.

Not only did Du Bois strive to fix political equality he also wanted religious equality. In his list of demands he states that there is “an increase of a desire to bow to racial prejudice, to narrow the bounds of human brotherhood, and to segregate black men to some outer sanctuary” (Course Reader 30). He claimed that this is wrong and unchristian for the religion accepts all people of all colors. Du Bois’s demands on behalf of the African American People did not go in vain and put in the movement that would be the foundation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which was created in 1910.

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Equality For All. (2020, May 03). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/equality-for-all/

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