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Life in the Deep South 1930s
Transcript of Life in the Deep South 1930s
Race Relations "I swear to the Lord, I still can't see, why Democracy means, everybody but me." Economy After the Civil War, a deep resentment built up in Southern whites against blacks and former slaves. Although the banning of slavery made rights better overall, some say that things only got worse in the South. Without slavery, it was almost as if whites were trying to persecute blacks more. Before the Civil War, the Southern economy was greatly based on slave grown cotton. Suddenly, when all of the slaves were freed, there was no one to grow the cotton. To cope with this, southerners created a system of share-cropping, or sub-slavery. Blacks stayed on plantations as very low working class people. Most segregation started here. The KKK, or the Ku Klux Klan, is an extremist group of white protestants who simply are against any other race or religion. They are extreme conservatives who constantly, and often violently, promote white supremacy. The "Klan" was founded in 1865, the exact year that the Civil War ended and the slaves were freed. By 1925, in the second surge of the Ku Klux Klan, there were up to 6 million members. One example of this mostly Southern organization's hate toward blacks was the book, "The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan", which addressed "the black problem", and prompted several rallies and even a few violent arson attacks and killings. Enacted in 1876, these state and regional laws mandated racial segregation in any former Confederate state, which by all means included the Deep South states. In order to somewhat follow the Declaration of Independence, slaves were called "separate but equal" under the Jim Crow laws. During the 1930s, these laws were in full power, with water fountains, public buildings, transportation, and schools having separate (much lower quality) areas for any blacks. In fact, until 1954, the most gifted black children could not even attend the good quality schools for white children only. After relating my research to our learning about slavery in Social Studies, the real reasons behind slavery began to unearth themselves. It all goes back to the beginnings of slavery. When whites discovered African civilizations, they thought of black people as barbaric brutes, or basically animals. Even back then in the early 1700s, white people saw the color of black people and instantly related it to inferiorness. These feelings survived into the 1930s. Blacks in this time were still thought of as people who could really only grow crops. This quote was written by Langston Hughes, an African American writer living in segregated America from 1902 to 1967. In my opinion, this single sentence encompasses life in the Deep South, regarding blacks and whites. All people were guaranteed equality, but that simply was not happening. Grudges against blacks that had been kept for nearly seventy years were the driving force in Southern life. Blacks were still the servants, the workers, and the laborers - the bottom of the low class. This same mentality of southern whites would survive until the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.