An Army of Lions: The Civil Rights Struggle before the NAACP

By Shawn Leigh Alexander | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
“It Is Strike Now or Never”

Let us no longer allow ourselves to be amenable to the just reproach
that though we have the strength of a giant we use it like a child.

—T. Thomas Fortune

Courage brothers! The battle for humanity is not lost or losing….
Th e Slav is moving in his might, the yellow minions are testing
liberty, the black Africans are writhing toward the light, and
everywhere the laborer, with ballot in his hand, is opening the gates
of Opportunity and Peace.

—W. E. B. Du Bois

Building on the momentum of the final months of 1905, the Afro- American Council entered 1906 full of energy and primed to have a successful year. The Constitution League and the Niagara Movement also entered the New Year focused and ready to organize. Such determination and concentration was necessary for, despite the best efforts of these organizations, it seemed they were only slowing the steamroller of white supremacy. Whites continued to violate and rewrite the rights of African Americans with impunity. Moreover, racial tensions, which often lead to violence, continued to increase with the proliferation of sensationalized scare stories about black crime, rampant black sexuality, and “negro domination.” At the beginning of 1906 such a situation was epitomized by the popularity of Thomas Dixon’s best- selling novel Th e Clansman, the theatrical adaption of which was traveling throughout the country to rave reviews. In this climate each organization understood the importance of its individual existence, but over the course of the year unfore

-262-

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An Army of Lions: The Civil Rights Struggle before the NAACP
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1 - Aceldama and the Black Response 1
  • Chapter 2 - "Stand Their Ground on This Civil Rights Business" 23
  • Chapter 3 - Interregnum and Resurrection 66
  • Chapter 4 - Not Just "A Bubble in Soap Water" 98
  • Chapter 5 - To Awaken the Conscience of America 135
  • Chapter 6 - Invasion of the Tuskegee Machine 177
  • Chapter 7 - An Army of Mice or an Army of Lions? 220
  • Chapter 8 - "It Is Strike Now or Never" 262
  • Epilogue 297
  • Abbreviations 301
  • Notes 303
  • Index 375
  • Acknowledgments 380
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