C. Vann Woodward’s book The Strange Career of Jim Crow is a close expression at the battles of the African American community from the clip of Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Movement. The book portrays a scene where the Negroes are now free work forces after being slaves on the plantations and their version to life as being seen as free yet inferior to the White race and their 100 twelvemonth battle of going peers in a community where they have ever been seen as 2nd category citizens. To truly understand the motive of C. Vann Woodward’s motivations of his book. The Strange Career of Jim Crow. one must look at Mr. Woodward’s life.
Comer Vann Woodward was born and raised in Vanndale. AK in Cross County on November 13. 1908. The town was named after his mother’s blue household. He attended Henderson- Brown College in Arkadelphia. AK for two old ages before reassigning to Emory University in Atlanta. GA in 1930. where he graduated. He received his Ph.d. in history at the University of North Carolina and after he took alumnus categories at Columbia University where he was introduced and influenced by the Harlem Renaissance. Woodward taught at Johns Hopkins University from 1946-61 and at Yale University from 1961-67.
He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for Mary Chestnut’s Civil War and won the Bancroft Prize for Origins of the New South* . It was when he was learning at Johns Hopkins when he wrote the book. The Strange Career of Jim Crow. It was during the tribunal opinion of Brown vs Board of Education in 1954 that Woodward started his talks. which lead to his book. at the University of Virginia. His audience was more or less surprised about the race dealingss of the old South during Reconstruction ; most thought that the two races have ever been separated with hatred.
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Woodward argues that the Jim Crow Torahs of the 1890s were a new construct of dividing the two races. Throughout bondage and during the Reconstruction period. the two races were to the full integrated working on economic sciences and political jobs ; the separation of the two races would take to an insufficient and uneffective plantation. “The typical home of a slave-owning household was a walled compound shared by both maestro and slave households. Neither non-slaveholding Whites nor free Negroes escaped this ntimacy. for they were ‘sprinkled through most parts of town and surrounded by people of both races’” ( 14 ) .
The same dealingss remained true during the Reconstruction epoch when the inkinesss started to urbanise in the South. Woodward goes on to state that the “blacks and Whites lived side by side. sharing the same premises if non equal installations and populating invariably in each other’s presence” ( 14 ) . The good dealingss of the South turned rancid when struggles between the Whites over economic problems heightened in the late 1870s. the finding of the Negro’s ‘place’ took form bit by bit under the influence of economic and political struggles among divided white people- struggles that were finally resolved in portion at the disbursal of the Negro” ( 6 ) .
The Negro at the clip became the whipping boy for all of America’s economic discord. Many thought it best if they separated themselves from the Negro so all would be better. Hence the Jim Crow Torahs started to organize on the segregation of the two races and so tribunal instances followed in suit. aka Plessy V Ferguson in 1896 which ruled “separate but equal” .
Ironically the South is known for the most racism but most metropoliss were loath in to implement legal separation of the races. In New Orleans. Whites and inkinesss gathered freely at public events and even many had sexual dealingss with one another ensuing in an inflow of mulattos in that country ( 15-16 ) . Racism did in fact take topographic point in largely rural countries. “An inordinate queasiness or irritability about contact with Negroes was normally identified as a lower category white attitude. while opposite attitude was popularly identified with ‘the quality’ ( 50 ) .
It was within these rural lower categories that extreme racism was formed affecting white domination groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. As political parties started to switch in the mid 1880s. more conservative Democrats took the scene and purely enforced the Torahs of segregation. The Republicans were the 1s in support of more tolerant and equal society. The outlook of if one thing is separate so they all have to be took case in point during this clip. With the displacement of political parties. the segregation of the inkinesss from the Whites heightened and the single rights a Negro had were limited.
Blacks were discouraged to vote and separation of the two races became about entire with separate manners of transit to divide imbibing fountains. After the Progressive epoch and the New Deal. integrating was a idea in higher instruction. Colleges started to allow Negro pupils attend white universities because the separation of the races at school was conflicting on their 14th amendment rights ( 144 ) . Even though theses pupils did non go to the university for all four old ages. it was advancement that helped take up to the 1954 instance of Brown vs Board of Education.
The school boards argued that “’Segregation of white and coloured kids in public schools has a damaging consequence on coloured children’ . for it ‘generates a feeling of lower status as to their position in the community that may impact their Black Marias and heads in a manner improbable of all time to be undone’” ( 147 ) . The opinion of integrating of public schools was monumental for the inkinesss at that clip. After seeking to contend racism and restrictions of their single rights. the inkinesss could eventually be more equal so they had been in the eyes of the jurisprudence.
When Woodward presented his talks at the University of Virginia. which later led to his book. it was right after the opinion of Brown vs Board of Education. He insisted that his audience would be integrated every bit good so he spoke to non merely pupils. module and very important person of the university but he besides spoke to local inkinesss and Whites of the community. His talks received mix reappraisals ; some older. more conservative members of the university were shocked and appalled by Woodward’s remarks of pro-integration. while others were intrigued.
For them. the white Southern professor’s message was a challenge to the premise that race dealingss had been unalterably fixed over the class of Southern history” ( 224 ) . Woodward besides argued that the South was ever altering and something that limited the rights of inkinesss in the 1890s was to turn around in the 1950s to something better. When The Strange Career of Jim Crow was released nationally. America did non hold with Woodward’s thought that it was clip for a alteration. “segregation was ore steadfastly embraced than ever” ( 225 ) .
White persons did non O.K. of the opinion of the integrating of schools so they protested and sometimes rioted when the authorities tried to incorporate some of the schools. States such as Georgia put the Confederate flag back on their province flag in rebelliousness of the new Torahs ( 225 ) . Blacks protested in comparing. After the apprehension of Rosa Parks non desiring to give up her place to a white adult male. the Civil Rights Movement launched its run of civil and equal autonomies lead by Rev.
Martin Luther King Jr. When this book was originally published in 1955. Rev King called it “the historical Bible of the Civil Rights Movement” . I believe that the chief ground behind King’s statement was that the motion was on the front page of every newspaper for over a decennary that when the book did come out. Woodward looked at the battle of the Negro in a historical sense and non seting incrimination on a specific race. but on certain determinations some legislators made that forced America to head in the way of segregation.
Woodward presented a historical and non endangering narrative which gave ground to the Civil Rights Movement. The inkinesss liked it because it showed the persecution they had to digest for so long and the doggedness they maintained throughout that clip and the Whites bought the book because it helped explicate what was traveling on at that minute in clip. No uncertainty that this book is an of import historical papers that helped a state through one if its more hard times in history.
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