Read: “Black Ordeal, Black Freedom” on Blackboard under this date
Write: Assignment must be typed, double-spaced, with your name at the top
Write a paragraph that begins with the topic sentence: Life in the North was
different from life in the South for African Americans. Select facts from the
reading to back up this sentence. Use no quotations; write the entire
paragraph in your own words (after the topic sentence that I have specified
here). Write at least five sentences but no more than ten after the topic
sentence. hhhh.pdf–_
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lne -moyling inJuly of 1944, a civilian bus driver ar Forr Hood, Texas, ordered a black army lieutenant to “get to the back of the bus where the colored people belong.” The lieutenant refused, arguing that the military had
recently ordered its buses desegregated. Mps came and took him into custody. Four weeks later, the black officer wenr on trial for insubordination. If
convicted by the court martial, he faced a dishonorable discharge-which
would have crippled his job opportunities for the resr of his life.
The lieutenant’s name was Jackie Robinson. Three years later, Robinson
would don the uniform of the Brooklyn Dodgers to become the first African-
American man in the twentieth century to play major league baseball.
Robinson’s bold defiance of raciar cusrom, his appeal to federal aurhorit1 and his acquittal by that military courr in 1944 all indicated that significant changes were in spin. world war II was a watershed in AfricanAmerican history, raising the hopes of people who, with their children,
build the massive black freedom movement of the 1960s.
The urgent need for soldiers to fight abroad and for wage-earners to forge
an “arsenal of democracy” at home convinced a flood of African Americans
to leave the south. Mechanized cotton pickers shrunk the need for agrarian
labor just as rhe lure of good jobs in war indusrries sapped the will Io ,try
in the fields. Metropolises from Los Angeles ro New york fiued up with darkskinned residents-and, after the war, the flow persisted. Between 1940 and
1960, 4-5 million black men and women migrated out of Dixie; African
Americans were fast becoming an urban people.
This second great migration (the first occurred during and just after
world war I) helped pry open some long-padlocked doors.”Before the war,
all but a few blacks were excluded from u.i”r, to good .,white’,
lobs and the
America Divided
Jachie Robinson being tagged out at home during a World Series game against the New York
Yanhees. Source: National Baseball of Fame, Cooperstown, NY
best educational institutions. After the war, increasing numbers of blacks finished high school and gained entrance to historically white colleges; the num-
ber of African Americans in the skilled trades and in professions like medicine and education shot up.
Before the war, the black freedom movement was a small and fragile entity, repressed by southern authorities and shunned by many African Americans fearful of reprisals if they took part. In 1941, labor leader A. Phillip
Randolph vowed to bring masses of demonstrators to Washington, D.C., unless the government opened up jobs in defense plants to black workers. His
threat persuaded President Franklin Roosevelt to establish a Committee on
Fair Employment Practices (FEPC) and to bar discrimination by unions and
companies under government contract. During the war, the NAACP, the oldest national civil rights organization, increased its membership by a thousand
percent. Many a black veteran returned from overseas with a new determination to fight the tyranny under which he’d been raised. “I paid my dues
over there and I’m not going to take this anymore over here,” stated a former black officer.l
Centuries of bondage and decades of rigid segregation (called’Jim Crow,”
after a bygone minstrel character) had taught African Americans hard lessons
-rBlach Ordeal, Blach Freeilom
about the barriers they faced. A maxim
of Frederick Douglass, the nineteenth_
century abolitionist who had freed
himself from ,h;t:;;ed
“Power concedes nothing without
a demand. It never’did u.ra i, never
The demand in the post-world war
II era was for ,,freedom.,, But what did
that mean?
Their history as a narion within a nation
reft most brack people
a deep sense of arienarion from
the society of
their birth
with both
inrense rong_
full and eqLr:rl citizenship. The black activisr
rra irr,”rr”ctual w. E. B.
wrote, in 1903, that the black American ,.ever
feers his rwo_ness_an
American, a Negro; two souls, two
thoughts, two ,”.”
ffi ilr*Jl?’:i:;l:ro*ubodv,whosJdogged’,.””g,r,-uio,i.keeps-itrrom
The thousands of men and women
who joined the freedom movement
in the two decades after 1945 continued
to rive in perpetuar rension between
the dual ideals. They demanded^equality
under ttre tai-to be.ludged as individuals and not as members of a minorit
y race.yet, at the same time, their
strength resred o” ,1″::, relationships,
and institutions thrt
,p.u.rg f.o_
their own tight-knit African-Am..i.ui
.o**uniry-one in which iiliterate
laborers and a smalr core of blrck
p.oi”ssionals were bondei (.,o, always
happily) by race. The resurt *ur ,rrr.u-Llack
individual-whether cook or
physician-wourd rise from the .o–r.,i,y
or not at a[. The cause of civir
rights was thus always, by necessity
u, *rr.h as design, also a demand for
black power.
The legal effort that culminated in the
most famous court ruling of the
twentieth century illustrated the dual
longings that DuBois described. In
Thurgood Marshalr and his mlented
,”u..ior”Naac, ir*y.* l”.ided to chal_
lenge the principre of segregatea
r.hootr.’sut they *”.” ,o,-r.,ing fiom
absrracr belief that btact
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