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African American Experience

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African American Experience

African Americans lived differently than white men did during the turn of the century. They faced many problems within the society. Some of the issues they faced were out of their hands. Although things were not the greatest all the time, there were supporters and organizations that they could turn to. Along with these organizations they had leaders that tried to help the race. Many African Americans became successful in the late 1920’s, and still to this day there are many African Americans that are successful.

During the time period around the late 1870’s through the 1920’s many African Americans did not have good jobs. The majority of African Americans lived in the southern states. Many were sharecroppers who worked the land and gave the land owners part of the profit from the crops. African Americans were cheated out of money through this process most of the time. The African Americans did receive the right to vote before white women.

African Americans faced many issues throughout these years. A series of laws were passed in the South to keep the African Americans at the lowest point possible in society. These laws were known as the Jim Crow Laws. Shortly after these laws were established segregation became legalized, and black codes that were abolished during the Reconstruction resurfaced and were supported in Plessy vs. Ferguson. This lead to African Americans being looked down on and equality far from reach. African Americans were not allowed to go to the same schools or drink out of the same water fountains as whites; they were even told where they could and could not live. This put a strain on the race and the way they had to live. Many African Americans were also stripped of their voting rights. In 1890 a poll tax was enforced. This meant that poor people, of both races, were not able to vote simply because they could not afford to. They also instituted a literacy test where you had to show that you were able to read and write. Many times African American college graduates failed the test, yet illiterate whites were some how able to pass. The responses to these issues were not good. They did not understand why they should be treated any differently from the whites. This led to riots and outburst throughout the country. After this, African Americans became the center of violent and cruel attacks. Lynchings were on an all time high in the late 1800s with more than a hundred African Americans being lynched per year. Law enforcement usually did nothing to stop these terrible acts and sometimes even participated. African Americans fled to the North during this time in search of better jobs and home lives for their families.

Many organizations were formed during this time in hopes of ceasing the violence and bringing America to equality. Two of the largest influences were Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. Both of these men had separate approaches with the end result being the same. Washington thought that equality would be achieved, but it would be a very slow and ongoing process. He wanted to concentrate on getting African Americans better paying

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