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

Introduction

THE SETTING

No one has read Alex Haley’s Roots or watched David L. Wolper’s TV production of it without getting an inside story of slavery in the United States. The story of slavery has been told in so many ways. One wonders if it needs to be told any more. However, other aspects of African American struggle for development have not been told as well as the story of slavery. This is why reading Nicholas Lemann’s The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America (1991) aroused in this author an intense interest in conducting a study on the metaphor of the promised land as it relates to that struggle. Lemann’s book and this study are very different in their treatment of the metaphor of the promosed land. Lemann discusses the migration of African Americans from conditions of economic oppression imposed by the South to the more tolerant North. This study addresses the struggle of African Americans for development since the Civil War. Areas of that development are specifically identified as political, economic, social, and educational. These areas collectively form the metaphorical expression of the promised land. In short Lemann’s book is a sociological approach to the metaphor of the promised land, while this study is a historical approach. One can say that while the two studies supplement each other they are also quite different.

When President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, to take effect on January 1, 1863, people

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