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Flashcards in AfricanAmerican History Chapter 18 Deck (12):

The Great Depression

• The Great Depression Economic downturn that began in 1929 and lasted throughout
the 1930s. the 1930s.

• National income fell from $81 bil- lion in 1929 to $40 billion in 1932.

• Americans lost faith in banks.

• Overnight millions of Americans lost there life savings in bank closings and foreclosures.

• According to the American Federation of Labor (AFL), the number of unemployed people increased from 3,216,000 in January 1930 to 13,689,000 in March 1933.

• the Great Depression was prob- ably caused by a combination of factors. These factors included rampant speculation, corporate capitalism's drive for markets and profits unchecked by federal regulation, the failure of those in the government or private sector to understand the workings of the economy and a weak international trading system.

• Most black people remained in the rural South in an increasingly exploitive agricultural system. The . Families of black sharecroppers and tenant farmers, nearly powerless in the rural South, found themselves reduced to starvation or thrown off the land.


Charles H. Houston

• "Charles Hamilton Houston, a Harvard-trained African-American lawyer and scholar

• Houston had been vice dean of Howard University Law School. Transformed the school into a powerful institution for training black attorneys in the intricacies of civil rights law.

• At the Houston laid out a plan for a legal program to challenge inequality in edu- cation and the exclusion of black people from voting in the South. Houston used lawsuits both to force state and local governments to live up to the Constitution and to inspire community organization.

• Houston did not focus directly on eliminating segregation. Instead, he sought to force southern states to equalize their facilities. Studies bv the NAACP had revealed great disparities in per capita expenditures for white and black students, and huge differences in salaries paid to white and black teachers.


Thurgood Marshall

• To execute Charles H. Houston's agenda, Houston convinced Walter White to hire his former student, Thurgood Marshall, in 1936. Marshall was born in Baltimore in 1908. His father was a dining-car waiter and club steward.

• The two men worked with a remarkable network of African- American attorneys. They attempted to end discrimination against black men and women in professional and graduate schools.


Gaines v. Canada

• The first significant accomplishment in the NAACP's legal campaign against segregation in graduate and professional education was the U.J Supreme Court's 1938 decision in Gaines v. Canada. The Supreme Co^ourt ordered the state of Missouri to provide black citizens an opportunity to study law in a state-supported institution. Failure to do so, the Court held, would violate the equal protection of the law clause of f the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

• Lloyd Gaines, the the final resolution of this challenge. But, Missouri hastitily established a the final resolution of this challenge.

• Missouri hastily established a law school for African Americans at the historicallv black Lincoln University.


Sipuel v. Board of Regents


• Ada Lois Sipuel sought admission to the law school of the University of Oklahoma at Norman. In accordance with state statutes she was refused admission but granted an out-of-state tuition award. 1. Thurgood Marshall argued that this arrangement failed to meet the needs of the state's black citizen^ The Supreme C^r declared that Oklahoma was obliged under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to provide a legal education for SipueJ.

• The case established the principle that the state had to provide a separate law school for African-American students in their home states.


Sweatt v. Painter


• , Texas had created a separate law school that had inadequate library facilities, faculty, and suppport stall, it was separate but hardly equal. Marshall and local Texas black lawyers argued that the legal education offered Sweatt at the black law school was so inferior it violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

•The victories registered in these early cases laid the legal foundation for the 1954 Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision.


Eleanor Roosevelt

• African Americans greatly revered First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt 1884-1962). Mrs. Roosevelt consistently used her influence to fight against racial discrimination ana segregation.

• She arranged meetings at the White House for some black leaders.

• She personally defied Jim Crow laws by refusing to sit a whites only section while attending a meeting in the South.

• Eleanor Roosevelt was joined by other liberals to press the cause of racial justice and to seek the appointment of African Americans throughout the government.


Roosevelt's Black Cabinet

A core of highly placed African Americans became linked in a net- work called the Federal Council on Negro Affairs, more loosely known as Roosevelt's Black Cabinet.

Mary McLeod Bethune was the undisputed leader of this body, which consisted primarily of "New Deal race specialists." It numbered twenty-seven men and three women working mostly in temporary emergency agencies such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and included such stalwarts as ousing administrator Robert Weaver. This group of i advisers pres- sured the president and the heads of federal agencies to adopt and support color-blind policies and lobbied to advance the status of black Americans.


International Labor Defense

International Labor Defense (ILD) Communist Party organization that provided legal support to the "Scottsboro boys."

• Many black workers were drawn to tne communist rarty because it criticized the refusal of organized white labor to include them. The communists maintained that "the low standard of living of Negro work- ers is made use of by the capitalists to reduce the wages of the white Workers." r
They chided "the mis-leaders of labor, the heads of the reformist and reactionary trade union organizations" for refusing to organize black workers.


Scottsboro Boys

The Scottsboro case brought the Communist Party to the attention of many African Americans.

The case began when nine black youths who had caught a ride on a freight train in Alabama were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for allegedly raping two white women. Their ordeal began on the night of March 25, 1931, when they were accosted by a group of young white hobos. A fight broke out. The black youths threw the white youths off the train. The losers filed a complaint with the Scottsboro, Alabama, sheriff, charging that black hoodlums had viciously assaulted them.

The sweep netted the nine young black men: Ozie Powell, Clarence Norris, Charlie Weems, Olen Montgomery, Willie Robertson, Haywood Patterson, Eugene Williams, Andydy Wright,' and Roy Wright.

The police also discovered two young white women: nineteen-year-old Victoria Price and seventeen-year-old Ruby Bates. Price and Bates falsely claimed that the nine black youths had sexually assaulted them. Eight received the death sentence and the youngest, a thirteen-year-old, was sentenced to life imprisonmeient, even though medical examinations of Price and Bates proved that it neither had been raped.

the Communist Party's International Labor Defense (ILD) rushed to the aid of the "boys" by appealing the conviction and death sentence to the U.S. Supreme Court. In Powell v. Alabama (1932), i, the Court ruled that the nine Scottsboro defendants had not been given adequate legal counsel and the trial had taken place in a hostile and volatile atmosphere.

the Court ordered a new trial. Alabama did as instructed, but the new trial resulted in another guilty verdict and sentences of death or life imprisonment.

In Norris v. Alabama (1935) the Supreme Court decided that all Americans have the right to a trial by a jury of their Peers. The systematic exclusion of African Americans from the Scottsboro juries, the Court held, denied the defendants equal protection under the law, which the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed.

Despite these stunning defeats and increasing evidence that the "boys" had been falsely convicted, Alabama still pursued the case. Even when Ruby Bates publicly admitted the rape charge had been a hoax, white Alabamians ignored her. Finally in 1937 Alabama dropped its charges against five of the nine men. Altogether, nine innocent black men had collectively served some three-quarters of a century in prison.


What was the Black Cabinet

Black Cabinet: A group of` highly placed African Americans that made up the Federal Council on Negro Affairs.

Mary McLeod Bethune was the undisputed leader of this body, which consisted primarily of "New Deal race specialists.' it numbered twenty-seven men and three women working mostly in temporary emergency agencies such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and included such stalwarts as housing aclmanistrator Robert Weaver.


What was the New Deal and why was it necessary?

New Deal Set of policies proposed by the Roosevelt administration in response to the Great Depression. During his first one hundred days in office, Franklin Roosevelt pressed through Congress bold new economic initiatives that came ton be known as the first New Deal.

• The Second New Deal
Roosevelt pressed for a second round of legislation marked by the passage of the Social Security Act (SSA), the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the creation of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and other measures considerably more radical than those that had Come in 1933.

This new set of laws, known as the second New Deal, survived legal challenges and changed the United States, particularly by strengthening the role of the federal government.