Abolishment Of Slavery

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In the late 19th century, being born in the South meant being born into one of two very different worlds. Clinging on to the vestiges of slavery, the social construct that was in place meant you were either afforded opportunities in the changing industrial landscape or forced into a life of struggle and strife for those same opportunities; the former refers to a life of a white southerner, although not with his own struggles, and the latter a life of a black southerner. The drastic difference in living was most apparent in the South where black southerners where treated as “problems” emergent from the abolishment of slavery. African-Americans were segregated, severely underpaid, disenfranchised, and even killed for questionable crimes without…show more content…
Grady references them, to be solved. Grady was a newspaper editor of the South who was in tune with the white southerner’s opinion. Grady pointed out that slavery was the “cornerstone of the Confederacy” prior to the civil war (Course Reader 5). After the abolishment of slavery, there were lingering feelings of superiority over a race that were once slaves. This lead to the desire to maintain of authority over the African-American race. Anglo-Saxons Americans became the “employing and land-owning” class, while African-Americans became exclusively the “laboring class” (Course Reader 5). The newly granted citizenships created a need for additional resources. Grady in a speech takes note of this by saying, “No section shows a more prosperous laboring population than the [black southerners]… He shares our school fund, has the fullest protection of our laws…” (Course Reader 5). These words demonstrate why white southerners viewed the African-Americans as problems; they saw black southerners as partakers of their resources. Ida B. Wells, an investigative journalist gave another reason in her article “Lynch Law in America.” She stated, that when “newly-made citizens chose to exercise their suffrage… another raised a cry against ‘negro domination’ and proclaimed there was an ‘unwritten law’ that justified any means to resist it.” These unfounded sentiments shared by the white southerners…show more content…
To maintain their hegemony over the black populous, the white southerners severely underpaid African-Americans during this era. This had two effects: one, it kept black southerners in desperate need and thus constantly working; two, it kept them from saving any appreciable capital. In addition, the neighborhoods in which these underpaid workers resided also suffered, as they were unable to pay taxes or provide business to local facilities. Augustus Straker explains how the South suffocates the black populous in his examination of one of Grady’s speeches. “…by paying poor wages and giving him poorer rations,… and further denying him the opportunity for material advancement” (Course Reader 10). Low wages afforded a means of subsistence and little else. This kept the black population from any economic advancement in society and thereby forced them into a poor laboring class with no way out. This, Straker stated, institutes a large disparity between the two races which the nation is the worse
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