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Chapter Eighteen. The Growth of African American Cultural and Social Institutions

David H. Jackson, Jr

Subject Cultural Studies » Culture
Race and Ethnicity Studies » African American Studies

Key-Topics institutions, society

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631230663.2004.00020.x


When Reconstruction ended and African Americans moved into what some historians call the Nadir, they turned more and more to themselves for support and encouragement. Black people were disillusioned with the political system and any faint hopes that racial equality was on the horizon were dashed away. After the effecting of the Compromise of 1877, which led to the end of “Radical Reconstruction” in the South, the following decades were unrelentingly demoralizing, repressive, bloody, and brutal for blacks. Perhaps the most tragic reminder of their precarious position was lynching. As Philip Dray (2002) , Stewart Tolnay and E. M. Beck (1995) , and W. Fitzhugh Brundage (1993) have shown, from 1880 to 1930 thousands of African American men and women were lynched throughout the South (black men most often being the victims). They were killed for minor infractions-or even merely being accused of stealing, say-though many times no trial was held to determine their guilt or innocence. The charge of raping or assaulting a white woman would almost invariably lead to lynching. For many, the accusation alone became a death sentence. As the system of Jim Crow emerged and “separate but equal” became the order of the day with the Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), African Americans were systematically shut out of many basic American institutions. If blacks wanted religious ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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