Freedom's Sword: The NAACP and the Struggle against Racism in America, 1909-1969

By Gilbert Jonas | Go to book overview

Notes

Chapter 1

1.
According to the Boxing Almanac, the first Negro champion was George Dixon, who held the bantamweight and featherweight titles from 1890 to 1892. He was followed by two of the greatest champions of the century, Joe Walcott (the original), welterweight champ twice between 1901 and 1906, and the all-time great lightweight champion, Joe Gans, who held the title between 1901 and 1908, the year Jack Johnson won the heavyweight title. The pugilistic successes of these three-Dixon, Walcott, and Gans-did not appear to inflame white Americans as much as Johnson's victory had, probably because Johnson never displayed the era's customary deference to whites. Today, Jack Johnson might well be accused by insecure whites of possessing a bad attitude. Blacks might also describe Johnson as “bad, ” and mean exactly the opposite (Boxing Almanac, 1996).
2.
Between 1895 and 1915, Booker T. Washington was considered the nation's most politically powerful Negro because his message was reassuring to conservative and moderate whites, and he had gained direct access to the levers of power within the Republican party, for which he vigorously campaigned. Thus, he was accorded major patronage by Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. This increased his power many times over and entrenched him with such white philanthropists as Andrew Carnegie, Jacob Schiff, William Lloyd Garrison, and his nephew Oswald Garrison Villard. As Dr. W.E.B. DuBois began to challenge Washington's philosophy openly, at least from 1903 onward, Washington grew increasingly apprehensive that a successful DuBois and later the NAACP would diminish his political and financial power and income. He did everything in his power to undermine the NAACP and DuBois, including personal and political attacks in newspapers beholden to him and the crafty use of patronage as a tool to garner opponents to DuBois. In addition to their philosophic differences, the two Negro giants also succumbed to personality conflicts. Oswald Garrison Villard, Albert Pillsbury, and other mainline NAACP founders were worried that an attack on the newly born NAACP would jeopardize their fund-raising potential. DuBois and Washington continued their public attacks on each other until Washington encountered a personal scandal in 1911, after which the NAACP and

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