In chapter one, Kevern Verney, begins with explaining about growth of urban population in American society in the last decades of 19th century by internal migration and mostly overseas immigration.
Between 1880 and 1921 most of the immigrants arrived from southern and eastern European countries, but in the world war period because of wartime condition and also legal restrictions, European immigration fell and industrial growth led to great migration (1915-1925) in which 7 million African Americans escaped from racism in rural southern United States into cities. In fact they were offended from southern cities for some reasons such as suffering economic condition, and on the other hand boom in industrial productions created job opportunities for blacks in north. Their situation in north was better, though, racism was present there.
At first, most large cities of north had small African American communities but gradually racial tensions increased and segregation spread in cities, formally.
After a while whites and blacks found that in race relations they could not achieve any improvement.
By creation of this idea about racism, national urban league (NUL) was established as the major civil rights organization in 20th century.
Also, Marcus Garvey founded universal negro improvement association and African communities league and in 1923 it had one million members in the united states.
Chapter two allocated to Great Depression (1928) and consequences of Second World War (1939-45) for African Americans.Verney explains Great Depression as a dramatic, world wide economic downturn which led to urban poverty and unemployment and racial discrimination.
On one hand, administration of republican president Herbert Hoover did noting to reduce blacks disasters during great depression and on the other hand the aims of national black civil rights organization were influenced by the Great Depression.
One of the most important African Americans leaders was emerged in 1920 that named Philip Randolph. He found Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) which was the first black labor union .later, in 1935 he became the president of the National Negro Congress. NNC was established in order to unite black groups to confront the problems of the depression. But it was not able to deal with the problems.
By the liberalists’ victory in the presidential election, New Deal was innovated in order to giving reform to people and economy of the United States during great depression. In 1935 National Youth Administration as a new deal agency established under the supervision of an African American.
But, in practice, not all new Deal agencies were enlighted, but New Deal as a whole was beneficially to African Americans.
In 1935 a trade union body for workers was formed which raised the political consciousness of black workers. All of these changes constituted pre-condition for civil rights campaigns.
The Second World War, also, had noticeable results for African Americans but the total impact of that was to advance further the changes set in motion during New Deal. In wartime huge number of blacks served in U.S. army and as a result their grassroots consciousness increased and after war they had heightened expectations and but unfortunately during 1930 and 1940 there were few racial advances in popular culture.
In chapter three he describes the effects of the Second World War on civil rights movements as a vital part of the blacks’ struggles for freedom and then vernery refers to the process of African American civil rights.
In the mid 1940 the national democratic party was divided on racial issue , while, northern wing argued for a more liberal stance on civil rights questions the southern opposed to any changes in the status quo.
Truman empowered the creation of a rights committee to investigate the state of race relations in America by that he made the first third party presidential election. In any case, committee recommendations awarded for an end to segregation in transportation, in public schools and later in military.
The emergence of civil rights in the end of the Second World War was destroyed by cold war politics.
But later, newcomers from the Third World encouraged African Americans for civil rights and on the other hand anti- communist purges help civil rights groups to authorize themselves. Civil rights groups during the 1950s and 1960s focused on issues like voting rights but because of disorders civil rights campaigns failed to confront problems of poverty and economic inequality.
Ultimately all of these changes led to some advances for blacks but racial relationship dominated in the society.
In this chapter the author focused also on great men as Martin Luther, Elijah, Muhammed, Malcolm, Jesse Jackson, but except for a brief mention pf Ella Baker the importance of the women to the movement is virtually ignored.
Chapter 4 of this book is about Black Power during the 1965 and 1976. It noticed to Black Power adherents whom believed in Black Nationalism and necessity to use violence as a means of achieving their aims.
As the result a black power group organized revolutionary action movement and then Black Panther Party as an African American organization.
But the severest repression destroyed the Black Panthers and most of its leaders were killed or imprisoned .when Nixon became president he concentrated on the principle that the law must be color-blind and he support affirmative action, that’s why during his time integration of public schools in the South foe the first time took place.
Chapter 5 begins with black condition during 1980s. In the first years if the 1980s blacks achieved political success but Jesse Jackson whom was a candidate of democratic presidential nomination held no elect office at all. But he could establish Rainbow and PUSH which were established to demand social programs, voting rights and affirmative actions. Totally race relations were reflected in American popular culture during the last 25 years of 20th century.
As a conclusion it should be say although African Americans achieved some success but many figures of the civil rights movement has ignored; in the last year of 20th century half of the black children continued to live in poverty, many black men were in prison and… .
Verney is able to highlight key turning points and developments, their causes and consequences.
This book is invaluable for both students and readers whom want to have an almanac for African Americans history.
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