The Journey to the Promised Land: The African American Struggle for Development since the Civil War

By Dione Brooks Taylor; Dickson A. Mungazi | Go to book overview

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Preparing for the Journey: The Search for a New Identity

I believe, my friends and fellow citizens, that we are not prepared for this suffrage. But we can learn. Give a man tools, and in time he will learn a trade.

Beverly Nash, 1868


THE EFFECT OF THE THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT

The history of the struggle for development of African Americans is a story of how they initiated change in political, economic, educational, and social conditions to shape their future and that of the United States. This struggle in turn determined the course and the rate of their advancement. The purpose of this study is to trace the major developments of this struggle and how they influenced change in the conditions that have affected their lives since the Civil War. It will also attempt to present the implications that they had in their education as a major factor of that struggle. The reaction of white Americans to legal action and court rulings beginning with the Dred Scott case in 1857 on issues that deeply affected them in terms of that development will also be presented.

On May 29, 1856, during a speech to the first Republican state convention in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, the principal advocate of the end of slavery, had observed: “We allow slavery to exist in the slave states, not because slavery is right or good, but from the necessities of our union.” 1 But that effort was costly. It created bitterness that lasted for the next century. It brought about a new level of racial hostility un-

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