Southern Reconstruction Essay

1167 words - 5 pages

At the end of, an idea of a New South emerged as the plan for the south to modernize through industry, in hopes of achieving success the way the North had. The New South was characterized by an increase in industrialization, urbanization and the diversification of agriculture to promote more domestic independence. However, the idea of the New South failed and post Reconstruction South remained primarily based on agriculture and retained most of its socioeconomic system. The post reconstruction situation facing African Americans was that their condition or quality of life and level of sub standard citizenship had arguably, deteriorated. In response to the worsened situation faced by African Americans, four prominent African American writers and scholars formed their opinions about the problems of society, their ideas for solution and presented them to the public. Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington, Henry McNeal Turner and W.E.B Du Bois offered Southern African Americans four different ways to deal with the economic, social and political struggles they were facing at this time. All of the theses have certain strengths and weakness and moreover, if two alternatives had been paired together they could have possibly, been successful. Among the alternatives put forth, for improving the post Reconstruction condition of African Americans, by Wells, Washington, Turner and Du Bois , arguably the ideal alternative would be a combination of the key principles of Washington and DuBois.In Ida B. Wells's United States Atrocities, she articulately and clearly describes the problems facing African Americans by the systematic oppression of society but neglects to fully discuss a solution. In Wells's essay, she fully describes the present state of affairs in the South, and offers pieces of evidence to support those claims. However, it seems to be that even though she discusses the problems she falters by only offering a single, literal alternative for African Americans. Wells' discusses the problems and condition facing Southern African Americans rather than presenting a plausible way to better the present situation. Stating that a Winchester rifle should hold a place of honor in the African American household, Wells suggests that owning a gun may heighten fear among the white community and in turn, cause their to be a greater amount of respect for African American life. Although Wells's essay United States Atrocities, provides an informative insight to the post Reconstruction state of African Americans , it neglects to offer a thorough alternative for improving the quality of life.In Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Exposition Address, he encourages a mass movement of African Americans to cooperatively raise the standard of living, however this process may be criticized for being too passive.In Washington's alternative for African Americans in the South at the turn of the twentieth century, he coined the phrase 'cast down your buckets where you are.' In this address...

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