The 1920s – AFRICAN-AMERICANA – SYNOPSIS

PART ONE –
“THE GREAT MIGRATION”:AFRICAN-AMERICANS MOVE NORTH
1)Life for African-Americans in the South was characterized by farming in a system
called share-cropping. They “rented” land in return for payment of a
“share” of their crop to the land-owners.
2)The ”Jim Crow” south was characterized by racial “segregation”, characterized by the
Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896) Supreme Court case phrase, “Separate but Equal”.
3)African-Americans were terrorized by the act of lynching, the hanging of people by
violent “mob” rule.

PART TWO – LIFE in the NORTH
4)Racism in the north manifested itself differently than in the south. Many African-Americans left the south to the north in what is termed “the Great Migration”.
5)African-Americans generally lived in “segregated” communities or “ghettoes”
in New York City (Harlem), Detroit and Chicago.
6)African-Americans moved to Detroit, attracted by jobs in the automobile industry.
7)Detroit would eventually become a “hotbed” of Ku Klux Clan activity.
They resented African-Americans moving n great number there.
8)African-Americans moved to Chicago, attracted by industrial jobs, especially in the
meat- packing industry. They were “imported” as a cheap -labor source.
9)The wages they received enabled them to live in more “select” (white) housing
districts. This often produced white resentment.
10)The Chicago race-riot of 1919 was started at a “swimming hole”, when one black
swam on “the wrong side” of the (segregation) rope.
11)Tulsa, Oklahoma was seen as a “model” town regarding race relations in America.
It had a prosperous black merchant class and a large “middle class.”
12)The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 began over an incident of a black shoeshine man
being accused of attacking a white woman in an elevator.
13)A “lynch mob” showed up outside the Tulsa jail. A local newspaper “editorial”
was entitled “To Lynch a Negro Tonight”.
14)African-American Tulsans went to the Courthouse, armed. Many were military
veterans dressed in military uniforms to show they were also “Americans” who
had sacrificed their lives in time of war just like other Americans for “their” country.

What Happens To A Dream Deferred? Poem by Langston Hughes
What Happens to A Dream Deferred? 15)What does Hughes mean by “explode”?
Does it dry up a)feel hopeless
Like a raisin in the sun? b)act out physically in anger
Or fester like a sore … c)hate white people
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat? 16)Explain how the Chicago Race riot of 1919
Or crust and sugar over – is an example of this.
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

PART THREE – AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES
17)The social, economic and political status of African-Americans continued to be a
source of historical debate and controversy in the 1920s.
18)One historical perspective on this issue states that African-Americans have made
significant historical contribution to “American” history.
19)Economically, African-Americans helped build America as much as any other group.
20)Culturally, “American” music has been heavily influenced by African-Americans.
Arguably, the two greatest musicians of the 20th century “blew up” during
the 1920s – Louis Armstrong and “Duke” Ellington. (name them)
21)Many African-Americans demanded their “RIGHT-ful” place in American
society, just like other “hyphenated” Americans who settled here.

”Let America Become American Again” by Langston Hughes
O, LET MY LAND BE a LAND WHERE LIBERTY
IS CROWNED WITH NO FALSE PATRIOTIC WREATH …
BUT OPPORTUNITY is REAL, and LIFE is FREE …
EQUALITY IS in the AIR WE BREATHE
(THERE’S NEVER BEEN EQUALITY FOR ME,
NOR FREEDOM in the “HOMELAND of the FREE”)
22)Which of the following statements best summarizes the poem’s message?:
a)Hughes did not consider the United States “his” country
b)there was no real “liberty” in the United States
c)America was/is hypocritical when it came to African-Americans
23)The N.A.A.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
was formed in 1909 by Moorfield Storey, a northern white lawyer,
Mary White Ovington, a northern white woman activist and
W. E. B. Du Bois, an African-American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist,
Pan-Africanist, author, and editor. The first African American to earn a doctorate,
he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University.
24)Its mission is “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of
rights of ALL persons and to eliminate racial hatred and discrimination”.
Dedicated to equal rights and opportunities for all, it determined to
challenge “white supremacy” and end segregation laws.
25)The N.A.A.C.P. sought to have blacks have “full civil rights” as stated in the
United States Constitution.
26)Marcus Garvey’s U.N.I.A. had over one million members in 1921.
Garvey advocated “black power”, calling himself a “black nationalist”
Garvey sought black pride in their color, culture and history.
27)Garvey’s agenda included blaming problems and “victimization” for blacks on
white racism, and offering disillusioned blacks hope for a better future.
28)Garvey’s “Back To Africa” movement sought to establish close contacts with
Africa, and encouraging blacks to return to their “original homeland”.
29)Garvey proposed a new African Republic, pressing the League of Nations
to hand over former colonies in Africa.
30)Garvey’s critics stated that many blacks in America had never been to Africa.
They were more “Americans” than “Africans”.

The “HARLEM RENAISSANCE”

31)The “Harlem Renaissance” was an artistic movement, centered in Harlem, New York, that reflected the culture, pride, opportunity and challenges of African-Americans.
32)They saw themselves living in a thriving community, not a hopeless “ghetto”.
33)Poet Langston Hughes distanced himself from “disillusioned” earlier generations and “escapist” Pan-African viewpoints. (like those of Marcus Garvey)
34)Hughes sought that typically “American” quality – the freedom and opportunity to
“be yourself”.

“AMERICA” poem by Langston Hughes

“I of the dark eyes
And the crinkly hair…
I am America
Seeking the stars … I want to grovel (beg)
No longer in the mire …“
(mud)

35)Which of the following does NOT reflect Hughes’ attitude in the poem?:
a)black people are just as American as anybody else
b)African-Americans were not part of American society
c)he (and his race) sought and deserved the opportunity to pursue
“the American dream” like anybody else