An Army of Lions
The Civil Rights Struggle Before the NAACP
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press
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Table of Contents
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“Th e Negro must organize,” wrote Brooklyn- based African American lawyer T. McCants Stewart in 1889. “He must be peaceable, but if . . . forced to fight,” argued Stewart, invoking two famous Civil War battles involving African American Union troops, “he must do so with the same pluck, energy...
Chapter 1. Aceldama and the Black Response
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Racial tensions in Danville, Virginia, a town of eight thousand with a slight black majority, were on the rise during the state election of 1883. Early in the campaign, several newspapers ran an editorial cartoon depicting white school children being paddled by an African American schoolmaster.1 The cartoon...
Chapter 2. “Stand Their Ground on This Civil Rights Business”
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A few weeks after T. Thomas Fortune’s strong rejoinder to Atlanta Constitution editor Henry Grady, the Afro- American agitator’s quest to create a national civil rights organization finally came to fruition. The importance of the founding meeting, as Fortune noted, could neither have been easily estimated nor come...
Chapter 3. Interregnum and Resurrection
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While the Afro- American League collapsed on the national stage the reasons for its existence— the spread of disfranchisement, segregation, and racial violence— did not disappear. In fact, during the 1890s, the social and po liti cal forces that created the need for the Afro- American League actually...
Chapter 4. Not Just “A Bubble in Soap Water" (photo plates at end of chapter)
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According to the editor of the Richmond Planet, John Mitchell, Jr., the conclusion of the Afro- American Council’s first national convention marked the “beginning of a new era.” 1 Most involved with the convention and those who read of the proceedings in the nation’s black newspapers concurred...
Chapter 5. To Awaken the Conscience of America
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As the twentieth century dawned, African Americans found themselves in a precarious situation. Throughout the country, black civil and political rights were being violated systematically while white vigilantes murdered roughly a hundred individuals annually. This growing system of Jim Crow and...
Chapter 6. Invasion of the Tuskegee Machine
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Surpassing the lifespan of its predecessor, the Afro- American Council entered its fourth year of existence in 1902. The organization had successfully instituted national and local suits aimed at protecting the rights of African Americans, but as with the Afro- American League, it struggled for financial...
Chapter 7. An Army of Mice or an Army of Lions?
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Members of the Afro- American Council were determined that the tempests of 1903 would not become the hurricane of 1904. Despite the fact that the organization had been successful in instituting national and local suits aimed at protecting the rights of African Americans, the failure to achieve quick or...
Chapter 8. “It Is Strike Now or Never”
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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...
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Immediately following T. Thomas Fortune’s death in 1928, the Amsterdam News published an extensive obituary praising the fiery journalist and civil rights activist for his long career and tireless devotion to the race, social uplift, and equal rights. The tribute to his life and work acknowledged his pioneering...
List of Abbreviations
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Page Count: 350
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Politics and Culture in Modern America