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For African Americans, World War I continued a long, vexed history of broken promises to those who gave their service:a history critical for understanding Black responses to the Great War. As they had done in previous wars, the majority of Black people stood by their country, including activist and scholar W. E. B. Du Bois, and novelist Charles Chesnutt. But a tense debate also ensued in African American communities around the efficacy of Black participation given that wartime experience did not match the democratic rhetoric of the mobilization. Military and political leaders ensured that Jim Crow accompanied the troops to Europe, and although Black units became the most decorated in the US army (albeit by the French), the military pressed a disproportionate majority of Black soldiers into service as stevedores and other non-combat positions. Domestically, racist violence flared with new intensity, and writers like Mary Burrill and Claude McKay directly addressed the lynchings of servicemen and the “red summer” race riots of 1919. This essay nuances the ideas and realities of patriotism, freedom, and citizenship through African American lenses and Black military participation.
examines the development of Black citizenship, beginning with a stark reminder that blacks had no access to national citizenship rights in the antebellum period, even though there were more than 435,000 free Blacks living in the United States at the time of the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott ruling. The Framers’ Constitution had accommodated the interests and demands of slaveholding states at the time of ratification and thus gave much greater power to states than the federal government in setting citizenship rights. The constitutional framework structuring black citizenship changed significantly after the Civil War, as new forms of regressive state citizenship emerged against the backdrop of Reconstruction and decades of Jim Crow, followed by rapid changes in the Civil Rights period that continues until today. Throughout this chapter, the authors train their focus on the role of the Constitution and courts in defining and constraining Black citizenship rights, as well as the role of parties and social movement actors in propelling legislative action toward rights expansion and contraction.
focuses on the particular case of the United States and the development of national citizenship and state citizenship over time. Following the lead of other works in American history and American Political Development, the authors lay out three major periods in federated citizenship that follow significant developments in the US Constitution and federal law: the Framers’ period, stretching from the Articles of Confederation and the founding Constitution through the Civil War; the Reconstruction period’s establishment and subsequent collapse of national control ensuring the provision of those citizenship rights under Jim Crow; and the Civil Rights period, starting with the Twenty-Fourth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, and subsequent extensions and contractions in citizenship rights provided at the national and state levels along lines of race, gender, immigrant status, and sexual orientation.
The history between African Americans and Native Americans reveals as much about present-day America as any other single instance of racial history one could note. Specifically, the Jim Crow era, roughly spanning the end of Post-Civil War Reconstruction (1877) through the Brown v. Board of Education decision (1954) reflects both implicit and explicit attitudes toward race. Using Lumbee and Cherokee narratives as examples, this chapter will explore the complex and fluid nature of race and identity under slavery and later under Jim Crow.
In America’s racial struggle, as racial egalitarian forces won new commitments from the federal government and judiciary during the Civil Rights Era, white supremacists found that they could not pursue their aims directly because they were liable to be struck down as unconstitutional. In an effort to protect a rigid racial hierarchy, southern states turned to tuition grant vouchers. These programs provided public money to individual parents to spend exclusively at private segregated academies. Instead of funding segregation directly, white supremacists funded it indirectly – through the intervention of parents and of “private,” arms-length financial assistance commissions whose job it was to administer the voucher payments on behalf of the legislature. But a change in legislative means reflected no change in ends. Despite their popularity among white parents, the contested-attenuated nature of segregationist tuition grants made them vulnerable to legal challenge as the Jim Crow system disintegrated. Remarking upon white supremacists’ inability to conceal their racist purposes, judges struck the programs down as unconstitutional. In their modern incarnations, vouchers are color-blind but have never fully shaken off the racial connotations of their segregationist forebears.
In mainstream culture, the marginalization of African Americans and Roma is reinforced through sign systems, or associations between images and ideas. Stereotypes of both groups serve as signposts for an inability to become fully incorporated into the nation. This is hardly surprising: the prior Chapters of this book reveal how both groups have been excluded and marginalized for centuries, with weak recourse under law.
This chapter outlines key themes in the history of racial violence in modern America, as well as exemplary scholarship on this important subject. More important, the essay centers white supremacy as a primary motivator of racial violence across region and era. The emancipation of enslaved African Americans led to violent struggles over citizenship and civic equality in the Civil War’s wake, yet those struggles extended far beyond the postbellum south. Violence fueled campaigns to disenfranchise, segregate, and exclude non-whites in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. As the United States emerged as a global power in these same decades, ideologies of racial dominance informed American encounters with peoples abroad. Yet racial violence also spurred organization and protest, from African American anti-lynching campaigns to civil rights activism in Latinx, Native American, and Asian American communities, the history of racial violence is necessarily a dual history of repression and resistance. In the early decades of the twenty-first century, continued resistance to racial reform and full equality expresses itself in highly destructive and deeply systemic forms of violence.
The presidential elections of 1896 and 1900 established the GOP as the majority party across most of the United States for the better part of the next three decades. But while the Republicans expanded their dominance in the Northeast, Midwest, and West, the South remained almost exclusively Democratic throughout this period. As a result, the traditional argument that a GOP revival in the "Solid South" remained a possibility – which, in part, validated the sizable Southern presence at Republican National Conventions – rang increasingly hollow. That is, Republican leaders mostly concluded that the cost of maintaining a party organization in the South that was fit to compete electorally with an implacable Democratic majority outweighed the increasingly slim chances at GOP electoral success there. Republican administrations continued to use their control of patronage in the South to produce a reliable and sizable voting bloc that played a significant role in the selection of presidential candidates in 1908 and 1912. At the same time, however, several moves were made by competing factions to reduce the size of the Southern delegations. Not all of these moves were entirely genuine; rather, some were threats to (successfully) force compliance on other issues. Additionally, Republican leaders were far from consistent in their support of Southern delegates and were prone to changing their positions depending on whether they were the ones who controlled federal patronage. Thus, as the GOP moved into a position of national political domination, its Southern political organizations increasingly became pawns in a game of national-level party politics.
A systemic racism approach to understanding racial states like the United States is well-validated in much historical and contemporary social science research. Here we emphasize a number of the key contributions of this contemporary approach to assessing the US racial state. We use “state” to mean a socially and territorially bounded community with a national government complex and many local government institutions. We include aspects of the state accented by the classical theorist Max Weber – national states’ territorial sovereignty and their monopolization of coercion – and also the state’s executive bureaucracy, legislatures, courts, legal norms, and overall political operations (2015 ).
Proponents and opponents of reparations for Blacks vociferously
disagree. Conservative opponents argue that reparations for Black
slavery are a disastrous idea and that proponents are motivated by
either greed or the desire to do harm to the republic. Liberal and left
opponents of reparations argue that the advocacy on this issue will
lead to great racial divisions and do potentially irreparable harm to
progressive movements. Supporters of reparations argue that it is a
case of simple justice. That during the colonial, slavery, and Jim Crow
eras Blacks were systematically oppressed and exploited with the active
support of the state. They also argue that both domestic and
international precedents strengthen the case for Black reparations.
This paper shows that there is a tremendous divide between Blacks and
Whites on questions of both an apology to Blacks as well as monetary
reparations. The racial divide extends to support for the reparations
to Japanese-Americans who were victims of official incarceration during
World War II. Finally, multivariate analyses demonstrates that for both
Blacks and Whites, racialized views of politics are best predictors of
support for or opposition to reparations.
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