HIST 222 AMU week 1 lesson African Americans at the Turn of the 20th Century American Military University
In this lesson you will learn about the election of 1912 and the positions of each of the three main parties.The military and its role in Mexico and World War I will be discussed, and you will learn about discrimination in the military at the turn of the century. The lesson will present information about racism,the Ku Klux Klan, and race riots in the early 1900s. Another topic will cover the Great Migration and its impact on American life. You will also learn about the role of labor in the lives of African Americans, the
Club Movement, and individuals such as Booker T. Washington. You will also learn about protest strategies, Black Nationalism, and Pan-Africanism. The lesson will conclude with a discussion of the Harlem Renaissance and Black cultural leaders.
Topics to be covered:
- Examination of the factors that impacted African Americans at the turn of the 20th century including migration, education, politics and the arts
- Identifying how black women uplifted their communities
- Identifying the race leaders of the era and their philosophies
Presidential Politics and Race in 1912
MILITANT BLACKS SUPPORTED DEMOCRAT WOODROW WILSON
The election of 1912 divided black voters. Booker T. Washington urged black Americans to support the Republicans because that party had traditionally supported black rights. More militant black leaders, such as W.E.B. Dubois, urged voters to break with tradition and support reform-minded, but personally prejudiced Woodrow Wilson, the Democrat candidate for president.
Black Men and the Military
Several factors impacted African American men at the turn of the century, including migration, education politics, and the arts. African American men were allowed to serve in the military at the turn of the century, and did so eagerly, but they faced serious discrimination from white soldiers and officers.
THE PUNITIVE EXPEDITION TO MEXICO
In 1916, Francisco “Pancho” Villa crossed the border into New Mexico and killed fifteen Americans.President Wilson dispatched 15,000 troops to capture Villa and break up the bands of men fighting for him. The expedition was called the Punitive Expedition and was led by General John J. Pershing . Villa and his troops returned to Mexico and the Mexicans helping Villa told him of the expedition’s location and the direction of the expedition’s travel. President Wilson was concerned there was a possibility of an all-out war with Mexico and decided to have Pershing move his troops back. The troops returned to the U.S. after approximately 10 months without having captured or punished Villa. The Punitive Expedition was considered a failure but it did keep Villa away from the U.S. border. It was also successful because it prevented Villa from re-invading the U.S.
Racism and the Ku Klux Klan
Pseudo-scientific ideas and propaganda, such as the film The Birth of a Nation, fed racism in the early twentieth century and led to re re-activation of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Birth of a Nation
Birth of a Nation was a silent movie, produced in 1915, and adapted from the novel and play titled The Clansmen: A Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan. The story is about two families—one from the North and
one from the South—during the Civil War. The story dramatizes the Reconstruction period and the assassination of President Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth.
The movie is controversial because of its portrayal of black men and the Ku Klux Klan and because of its interpretation of history. It glamorized the Ku Klux Klan and distorted perceptions of Reconstruction and black Americans. The movie was used to recruit Ku Klux Klan members. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) protested at several sites where the film was shown and asked that the movie be banned. Riots broke out in many cities where the movie was shown. The movie grossed over $18 million in theaters, motivated racial violence. It was eventually banned in a few locations because of NAACP efforts.
The Ku Klux Klan
The Ku Klux Klan(KKK) had disappeared after Reconstruction but was resurrected a few months after Griffith’s film debuted. The Klan was reborn in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and began targeting Catholics, Jews, and
immigrants as well as blacks. The Klan promoted devout patriotism and advocated white supremacy while attacking the elite and intellectuals.
In 1925, it had an estimated 5 million members. It found support in white middle-class Americans in the North and West who believed the immoral lifestyles they associated with urban life could be associated with immigrants and African Americans. Later, the Klan’s goal of protecting white womanhood tarnished in the 1930s when one of their leaders was found guilty of raping a white woman who later committed suicide.