The Fail of Economic Independence Strategy
A Result of Social Sentiments During late nineteenth and early twentieth century, In order to reach their goal of equality, literate blacks with sympathetic whites began to fight against Jim Crow and injustice using different concepts-some black leaders urged for equal rights; while some believed that, instead of political rights, economic Independence and contribution to the society could improve black people’s social positions gradually (Cuban 79).
The economic strategy did not success because it did not associate all the problems in he society where whites were still considering themselves as blacks’ owners. It Is impossible to change the situation by conforming themselves to the white social clues. Believing whites would treat blacks equally if African American gave up their dally rights, the financial Independence theory urged black people to give up their voting rights for equality in education, which can not work out because whites were waiting for every opportunity to reinforce their social status.
Claiming that gaining economic Independence and contributing to the communities would Improve blacks’ inferiority gradually, Washington and Graver set up nationwide economic independence movements, which increase the discrimination towards black property owners because whites would not tolerate any possibility for blacks to compete fairly with them.
Because of whites’ long-lasted discrimination towards blacks, the strategy of financial independence and owning property, which relied on whites to treat them fairly in the society, can not solve the problem of In]justice but Intensified the racism.
The economic approach ignored the importance of fighting for equal daily rights but lied on whites to give blacks fair respect- Washington wanted whites to give blacks rights of education as a prize for their sacrifice of giving up their voting rights. Booker T. Washington, a represent of the black leaders who struggled for economic independence, pleased the whites that “l beg of you, further, that in the degree that you close the ballot-box against Ignorant, that you open the school house..
.. Let the very best educational opportunities be provided for both race” (Washington).
This strategy means that blacks admit them to be ignorant and not suitable for the ballot, ND as exchange, whites should grant blacks rights of getting equal education. However, whites let them down. Even though lots of black southern kids went to schools, they were as uncivilized as before as a result of lack of facilities, economic support and well-educated teachers (Herbert 135).
As It is reported, In one southern school, only one black kid knew what a president is, but he regarded president as Booker T.
Washington (Herbert 40). According to these facts, it is obvious that whites were not giving black kids equality In education, even though lots of black adults lost heir rights to vote. Racists fully showed their superior feeling in educational area after the race riot in Springfield; rumor spread out quickly that blacks are inferior, the present education Is even too much for them (Scrimshaw 48). Regarding blacks as properties they owned, whites was still proclaiming that it is blacks’ nature to be barbarism.
In fact, whites regarded their progress in educational area as a challenge toys justice in education no matter how much blacks gave up.
It is clear that if black people depended on whites for equality in education, discriminations in this area loud only get worse, and black kids would no longer have a chance to improve their social status. Meanwhile, white racists used this opportunity -blacks gave up their voting rights willingly- to deepen the disfranchisement movements and the discrimination in education.
Initially, Washington declared if the government restricted the voting rights only to literate blacks, the voting rights to white should be limited too (Stows 83). Admitting the fact that this concept is equal to both races, it is impossible to be carried out. At last Washington’s call-“The Negro agrees with you hat it is necessary to the salvation of the South that restriction be put upon the ballot”-turns out to be disfranchisement based only on race instead of education (Washington).
In 1898, South Carolina and Mississippi excluded more than nine tenths of black citizens in their cities from voting. It was also reported that a Harvard– graduate black tried to register for ballot, and the whites refused because he was not literate enough; while another drunk white men came, and he was registered automatically(Stows 87). According to this report, whites were willing to put one interpretation for whites and another for blacks upon the same issue (Washington).
This idea is originated from racism-blacks’ nature is not suitable for political rights while it is only superior race that can dominate the society. Facing the fact that blacks got political power during reconstruction, white racists would feel humiliated.
Thus, they adopted every possible way to put down the progress for political equality. These examples showed that the problem in Washington’s concept is he was still hoping that whites would hold the Justice among these two races if black admitted hat they were not literate enough and sacrificed their voting rights.
From the results, it is obvious that there would not be equality if black gave up their rights and depended on whites; it is clear that having their own political rights is the only way to empower blacks to change policies and protect equality. In conclusion, giving up daily rights, like voting rights, means completely relying on whites for Justice and fair treatments, which was hopeless because racism could not be sucked out of lots of whites’ minds.
Beside giving up daily rights, the economic independence hurry dependent on whites to allow them competing equally in the society; however, the emphasis on financial independence, being regarded as a challenge by whites, promoted them to set up race riots to maintain their dominant position in economy.
As Washington’s and Gravers passionate theories were spread out in the whole nation, lots of blacks struggled for their economic independence, believing that every other forms of improvement could be adapted after they gained property and financial independence (Carter).
This message was a challenge to whites. The Atlanta Massacre in 1906 was set up because of the increasing of black business which was eyesore to some of the whites (Scrimshaw 44). For instance, several guys in the mob dragged a black barber out of his shop which was demolished by the mobs later, and it is reported that the mobs were white barbers who could not cope their shops successfully with their black competitors (Scrimshaw 45). Another similar situation happened in Lincoln hometown-Springfield.
Yelling “Lincoln freed you, we’ll show you where you belong”, the mobs plundered and destroyed blacks’ houses and as good as we are”(Scrimshaw 46)! Promoted by the anger of the riots, whites in Springfield spread the information of black men’s unfitness for the ballot, and they recalled the concept that black men are naturally inferior, which means they do not need education and should accept whites’ superior position in this society (Scrimshaw 48).
Beside this, blacks suffered injustice in court trials. After the SST.
Louis riot in 1917, white mobs were charged few dollars and forced to serve a short term Jail; while eleven blacks who went through the violence in this riot were convicted of killing two detectives (Ruddier 97). Apparently, the goal of these riots was to demonstrate whites’ dominant status to blacks who were seeking economic equality and financial independence. Washington’s message challenged whites’ principle that it is only whites who can own properties, and blacks are Just properties belonging to whites.
They could not tolerate any black who won them in business competitions.
Thus, mobs set up race riot against blacks, destroying blacks’ properties and trying to enforce black to admit their superiority. The flaw in this economic independence theory is black leaders did not realize whites were still believing that blacks were inferior, so they would try everything to put down the progress towards equality. In conclusion, the reason that the economic independence strategy failed is that the financial independence message was conflicted with whites’ racism.