A race forged by hatred : black identity, racial science, and culture, 1896-1916
- This dissertation explores the creation of Afro-American social identity during the Progressive Era by examining black intellectuals use of racial science to define a new racial identity for black Americans. Because historians have been locked into an analytical structure favoring the voices of Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois over those of other black leaders in the Progressive Era, we have missed the bulk of black intellectuals' analysis of race during that time. By resurrecting the contributions of black leaders other than Washington and Du Bois, we can get a richer understanding of a time of dramatic change in American race relations. During the Progressive Era, black intellectuals Pauline E. Hopkins, Kelly Miller, Jr., Charles V. Roman, William Hannibal Thomas, Monroe Nathan Work, and R. R. Wright, Jr., used racial science to reassess the nature of race and Afro-Americans' future in America. By engaging in scientific debates, and challenging the validity of doctrines used to justify excluding black Americans from social and civil life, they came to the strikingly modern conclusion that race was nothing more than a social construct. American races could not be distinguished based on biology or physical appearance. Black intellectuals understanding of their racial destiny changed during the first decades of the twentieth century. At first, many Progressive-Era black thinkers expected that the freedmen and their descendants would assimilate into the white race just as Frederick Douglass and other Reconstruction black leaders had desired. They believed that by educating Americans as to the scientifically correct, social nature of race they could cause white race prejudice to abate, thereby permitting black citizens to join with white Americans in a unitary national culture. But, by 1916 they had concluded that white race prejudice would not diminish in the short run. They abandoned hopes for assimilation into a single national culture and began to imbue their race with a distinct set of cultural ideals that would empower Afro-Americans in their long-term struggle to obtain its human rights in America.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Stanford University, Department of History.
|Winterer, Caroline, 1966-
|Winterer, Caroline, 1966-
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the Department of History.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2012.
- © 2012 by Timothy Tomlinson
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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