THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to trace the struggle of African Americans for development from the end of the Civil War to the present. In seeking to fulfill this purpose the study focuses on social, economic, political, and educational aspects as definite forms of development. These are the principal factors that make it possible for any group of struggling people to launch a journey to the promised land. It also discusses the implications which that journey has had on the national character of the United States as a result of the kinds of programs that have been initiated in these four areas. In order to adequately present components of this struggle, the study begins with a discussion of activities that were initiated relative to the search by African Americans for a new identity from 1865 to 1896.
In this approach the study focuses on specific areas of critical importance, such as the effect of Reconstruction, the role of the courts and the leaders who have been part of it. These are conditions of development that African Americans took into account in searching for that new identity. The influence of political and educational institutions that emerged during this period, the action of the North and the reaction of the South to Reconstruction programs, the efforts African Americans made, the inception of formal education, the nature of American society—all combined to form the thrust for the search of that identity in a way that had meaning to African Americans as they traveled on an uncharted course to the promised land.