Race, nation and education: Black history during Jim Crow

2011 2011

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Abstract (summary)

"Race, Nation and Education: Black History During Jim Crow" traces the cultural and intellectual dimensions of the early black history movement, with an emphasis on the formative role played by the following five scholars–philosopher Alain Locke and historians Carter G. Woodson, Charles Wesley, Rayford Logan and John Hope Franklin. Woodson and his colleagues in the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History researched, wrote and promoted black history as if it were a "life-and-death struggle." "The cause," as Woodson called the movement, spanned the years from 1915 through the 1950s and was both a professional and a grassroots enterprise. It reached all the way from seminars at Howard University to one-room schoolhouses in Alabama and encompassed everything from textbook campaigns to Negro History Week celebrations. This dissertation demonstrates that the study and celebration of black history had a formative influence on some of the most important twentieth-century black institutions and movements from segregated schools and the black press to the Harlem Renaissance and civil rights. It also shows that Woodson and his colleagues turned to history not only to contest racism but also to contest the very idea of "race" itself. With the advent of Negro History Week in 1926, the scope and influence of black history increased dramatically. From the late 1920s through the 1930s, segregated black schools became crucial sites for the transmission of the Harlem Renaissance, broadcasting its art, literature and music to African Americans across the country during their annual Negro History Week celebrations. The emphasis on recovering and showcasing a rich African American artistic and cultural heritage in the 1920s and 30s shifted to an overarching concern, during the 1940s and 50s, with tracing the roots and branches of an energetic black freedom struggle. What remained constant, however, was an almost evangelical faith in the power of history–Association members fervently believed that "the cause" would have a transformative effect on the hearts and minds of women and men, building black pride, on the one hand and reducing white prejudice, on the other.

Indexing (details)

Black history;
American history;
Education history
0328: Black history
0337: American history
0520: Education history
Identifier / keyword
Education; Social sciences; Black history; Cultural pluralism; Harlem Renaissance; Historiography; Locke, Alain; Race; Woodson, Carter G.
Race, nation and education: Black history during Jim Crow
Snyder, Jeffrey Aaron
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 73/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Zimmerman, Jonathan
Committee member
Mitchell, Michele; Singh, Nikhil
New York University
Humanities and Social Sciences in the Professions
University location
United States -- New York
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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