African Americans and the Progressive Era

African Americans and the Progressive Era

African Americans experienced intolerable mistreatment and discrimination from the Americans due to the slavery witnessed in the South. The industrialization of western countries such as America was characterized by lawless violence against immigrants (Chapter 16, 7). Despite the progressive era anticipations, the racial segregation between the African Americans and the whites widened. The American legislators enacted ethnic-based regulations known as the Jim Crow laws that segregated African Americans participated in the voting. Besides, African Americans faced discrimination against equal education and workplace opportunities. The continued oppression and humiliation saw the African American activists and revolutionists’ advocacy efforts to address racism and mistreatments. Ida Wells, W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington challenged Jim Crow Laws in the Progressive Era through their ideologies differed on how to salvage the African American challenges. This essay discusses how Ida Wells, W.E.B. DuBois challenged Jim Crow laws while comparing their ideologies with Booker T. Washington.

Ida B. Wells; an African American journalist born in slavery anticipated changing the discriminative and punitive American lynching action through exposing the anti-social activities. According to the female activists, Americans executed Jim Crow laws that targeted the black men to protect white women. The lynching laws subjected African men to death irrespective of the evidence to justify their involvement in the punitive action (Wells-Barnett 14). Ida shows that most lunching executed on the African American men occurred ‘on ethical grounds without incrimination against assault and sexual harassment. As a journalist, Wells condemned racial violence aimed at African Americans, notably, men. Besides, she publicized the African’s underdeveloped learning environment, schools, denounced mistreatment, and agitated the Africans to fight for their rights. Through the media coverage of the punitive American lynching action against the black men, Ida sensitized and mobilized the African immigrants against the Jim Crow rules that anticipated destroying the African race. Ida B. Wells founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a revolutionist movement that denounced lynching black men in American society.  In her quest to stop prejudiced killings of the black men by the irrational Jim Crow laws, Ida B. Wells anticipated eradicating lynching and advocating for equality amongst the Africans, notably, women.

Consistent with Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois challenged the Jim Crow laws and rebuked the government for violating the rights of African Americans. In the early 1900s, Dubois represented the sufferings and the challenges the Africans underwent at the Americans’ hands. The Southern life was characterized by killings, calling names; Negro, sexual harassment and assault against the African women, and arrests. Following the anti-social treatment directed to the African Americans, Dubois challenged the government’s legislation that segregated the blacks in the American community. In the period, the African American’s voice advocated for liberty and freedom for the immigrant community subjected to forced labour, discriminative workplace opportunities, and compromised education system. Dubois was consistent in denouncing the government’s plans to segregate national leadership based on tribal lines. According to the activist, American society’s discrimination infiltrated civil society, for instance, the church and schools. Du Bois resisted the government’s plans to categorize education that would see the African children undertake industrial education than typical learning activities. For efficiency in African education, Du Bois proposed voluntary segregation of the African Americans. He suggested that black teachers engage African American children in the education process. Du Bois advocated for radical changes in the Jim Crow laws that inflicted suffering and racial killings than the whites.

Contrary to Ida B. Wells’ and W.E.B Dubois’ ideology to rebuke and resist Jim Crow’s laws, Booker T. Washington encouraged African Americans to accommodate the rules. According to Washington, his counterpart Africans should make friendship with the whites in the South and gain the inadequate material possessions. Based on his Atlanta Exposition Address 1895, Booker T. Washington encouraged Africans to reconsider their enmity with the whites and fight through civilization. Washington reminded African Americans of their chance to advance in education, trading, farming, and professions in the foreign land than engaged in civil strife (Washington, 116). Even though Booker’s ideology prevailed before Du Bois, they contradicted. Ida B. Wells and W.E.B Du Bois agitated for Jim Crow’s reforms through resistance and advocacy while Booker called for collaboration between the two rival communities. Washington urged African Americans to accommodate the Jim Crow laws, persevere for a considerable period and gain economic stability before opposing the government legislations. Following his ideology, Booker proposed a non-radical ad progressive change of the Jim Crow laws through higher education. In contrast with Booker’s doctrine, Ida Wells sensitized and agitated African Americans to fight for their rights and oppose the implications of the Jim Crow laws.

In conclusion, the mistreatment, tribal and prejudiced killings, and discrimination against education and workplace opportunities resulted in African American activists’ evolution. Ida B. Well and W.E.B Du Bois agitated for changes in the Jim Crow laws through resistance and denouncing anti-social actions against the African Americans. The American government executed black men for unjustified accusations by white women. ON THE CONTRARY, Booker T. Washington urged the African Americans to advance in education, commercial sector, farming and professions while anticipating changing the Jim Crow laws. He encouraged friendship than enmity in a foreign land.

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