Black History 1: Art, Psychology, Law, and Sports

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The African Blood Brotherhood for African Liberation and Redemption (ABB) was a Marxist communist and black nationalist organization that emerged in response to the violent race riots of the Red Summer of 1919. Founded in 1919 in Harlem by Cyril V. Briggs, a West Indian immigrant, the organization was structured as a secret fraternal society for men and women of African descent; it espoused armed self ­defense. Its objectives were racial equality, a liberated and unified black race, the cultivation of racial self-respect, organized opposition to the Ku Klux Klan, industrial development, education of the black masses, higher wages and improved working conditions for African American workers, and cooperation with other “dark” races and class-­conscious white workers. Because the organization and the actions of its members were to be kept secret, much of the ABB’s early activities are not documented. The ABB gained publicity only when it became associated with Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and when the ABB became involved with the race riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in May 1921. At its peak the ABB’s membership included as many as fifty thousand people, and the group counted one hundred and fifty branches throughout the United States and the West Indies.

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Arkansas: Afro-Arkansans, like other black southerners, clearly benefited from the dramatic political and social changes of the Reconstruction era. Arkansas blacks, usually as Republicans, participated in the Constitutional Conventions of 1868 and 1874, and Negroes served in both houses of the state legislature until the last few years of the nineteenth century despite the fact that conservative white Democrats controlled the politics of the state after 1874. Moreover, a threefold increase in the state’s black population from 1869–1890 meant that an important segment of the electorate up until the 1890s was African American. Sixteen of the state’s counties and at least two important towns were majority black. The late nineteenth century also produced a small but growing urban black middle class, and a Reconstruction-inspired common-school law held out the promise of free (albeit segregated) public education—including a state normal school—for Arkansas Negroes. Bishop Henry M. Turner of the African Methodist Episcopal Church voiced the hope, if not quite the reality, of many when he observed in 1889 that “Arkansas is destined to be the great Negro state of the country…. This is the state for colored men who wish to live by their merits.”

By 1972, there were almost a hundred elected black officials in Arkansas—the second highest of any southern state—and hundreds more served alongside whites as salaried public employees. Moreover, by 1976, 94 percent of Arkansas’s black eligible voters were registered, effectively making the Democratic Party the vehicle for political civil rights in the state. Arkansas African Americans were instrumental in electing Bill Clinton governor in the 1980s and president a decade later. Arkansas remains one of the few remaining bastions of the Democratic Party in statewide elections, thanks in large part to black voters.

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Amenia Conference of 1916: After the death of Booker T. Washington in November 1915, the person who had sparred with him most intensely, W. E. B. Du Bois, promoted a conference of black leaders and representative white men and women to attempt conciliation and a bridging of the gaps that had grown between the accommodationist and activist camps, particularly after the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. The time had come for leaders of differing opinions to have an open and honest discussion and to decide which principles ought to guide the growing civil rights movement. Joel Elias Spingarn, then chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors, offered to host this select gathering at his Troutbeck estate in Amenia, Dutchess County, New York, 85 miles (137 kilometers) north of New York City.

In his leaflet, Du Bois listed people by region. Those from the South included Washington’s conservative former secretary Emmett J. Scott, the educator Lucy Laney, and the politician James Carroll Napier. Attendees from the West included the politician Francis H. Warren of Detroit, the dentist Charles E. Bentley and the lawyer George W. Ellis of Chicago, and the author Charles W. Chesnutt of Cleveland, Ohio. From the East came the National Association of Colored Women leader Mary B. Talbert, the educator Kelly Miller, the dramatist Thomas Montgomery Gregory, the NAACP’s Washington, D.C., member Neval Thomas, the social worker and peace activist Alphaeus Hunton, the lawyers William H. Lewis and George W. Crawford, and Garnet Waller, a founder of the Niagara Movement. Daily guests included such prominent black and white people as the governor of New York, Charles A. Whitman; C. W. Anderson, a Washington stalwart and Collector of Internal Revenue; Congressman William S. Bennett; the editor Oswald Garrison Villard; and the lawyer and suffragist Inez Milholland Boissevain.

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Herbert Aptheker (b. 31 July 1915; d. 17 March 2003): one of the most prolific white scholars of African American history in the twentieth century. Herbert Aptheker was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1915 and was educated at Columbia University in the 1930s, where he took an undergraduate degree in geology and an MA and a PhD in history. His first important publication, American Negro Slave Revolts (1943), was based on his doctoral dissertation and challenged the prevailing wisdom that slaves were largely passive victims of white masters. In part an outgrowth of Aptheker’s master’s thesis on Nat Turner, American Negro Slave Revolts immediately became a controversial work and has remained so since. He was befriended by the influential African American historian Carter G. Woodson and the legendary black intellectual W. E. B. Du Bois, both of whom encouraged his interest in Negro history.  In the last years of his life, Aptheker assisted in the editing and publication of the Martin Luther King papers at Stanford University. He died in Mountain View, California, on 17 March 2003.

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Black Astronauts: African Americans have always played an important part in the U.S. space program. Robert Henry Lawrence Jr. was the first African American astronaut, although he never went on a space mission. Lawrence was an air force test pilot and among the first people named to the U.S. Air Force manned orbiting laboratory program, a precursor to the space shuttle program developed in the 1960s by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Lawrence died in an airplane accident in 1967, and NASA did not recruit another African American astronaut for more than ten years.

Hidden Figures:the film focuses on three real-life African-American female pioneers: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who were part of NASA’s team of human “computers.” This was a group made up of mostly women who calculated by hand the complex equations that allowed space heroes like Neil Armstrong, Alan Shepard, and Glenn to travel safely to space. Through sheer tenacity, force of will, and intellect, they ensured their stamp on American history—even if their story has remained obscured from public view until now.

In 1978 three African American men were selected by NASA for the astronaut training program: Guion S. Bluford Jr., Frederick Gregory, and Ronald E. McNair. Bluford became the first African American to fly in space in 1983, and he took part in four missions, totaling more than 688 hours in space, before retiring from NASA in 1993. McNair took part in two missions aboard the space shuttle Challenger. In 1984 on mission 44-B he played a key role in the development of the shuttle’s remote manipulator arm, testing it for use in retrieving damaged satellite equipment. In 1986 McNair was again to fly aboard Challenger; this time he was scheduled to use the remote manipulator arm to release a satellite that would photograph Halley’s Comet. On that mission, however, a technical problem caused Challenger to disintegrate a minute and a half after launching on 28 January 1986, and McNair was killed along with the rest of the shuttle crew. In 1992 Mae Jemison became the first African American female astronaut to fly in space, as a crew member aboard the space shuttle Endeavour.

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Black-Owned Banks: From 1888 to 1934, 134 black-owned banks were established, and they funded many black businesses. But then the Great Depression forced many of these banks to shut their doors. According to the Federal Reserve, by the early twenty-first century roughly thirty-two black-owned banks existed across America.

Community and church organizations played a significant role in the beginning of banks. Black churches had assets in real estate, and often this was the only monetary asset of the community. The donations that churches collected weekly helped to establish the first black-owned banks. In time these banks flourished, leading the way to the growth and development of black business with millions of dollars of transactions.

The first African American–owned bank was the Savings Bank of the Grand Fountain, United Order of the True Reformers, in Richmond, Virginia. Chartered by the Virginia legislature in 1888, the bank opened one year later on 3 April 1889. This bank was an extension of the United Order of the True Reformers, a fraternal organization founded in 1881 by William Washington Browne.

Another early black-owned bank was the Capital Savings Bank of Washington, D.C., which opened for business on 17 October 1888 and closed in 1902. The building that was once the headquarters for the bank was given National Historic Landmark status in 1975. Another early bank, the Saint Luke Penny Savings Bank, opened in 1903. It was founded by an African American woman, Maggie Walker, in Richmond, Virginia. This bank was geared toward small investors, including women. The Saint Luke Penny Savings Bank eventually merged with two other black-owned banks in Richmond to form the Consolidated Bank and Trust, which by the early twenty-first century was the oldest existing African American–owned and operated bank in America. Still based in Richmond, the bank had several branches in Virginia.

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Richmond Barthé: stylistic sculptures of the African American captured the human passion and genuine character, culture, and ethnic identity of the race. His sensitivity in his work revealed a glimpse into the life and spirit of the African American during an era of oppression and persecution. Barthé’s unique ability to expose the vulnerability of his subjects brought him wide recognition in the art world and the social circles of the early and mid-twentieth century.

Barthé’s sculptures of male nudes became a recognized symbol of his work, he was careful to display a sexually conservative role in the public’s eye. His close relationship with Alain Locke, the famous African American philosopher, was publicly recognized as a professional association. Locke was an influential academic advocate of the New Negro movement and included many of Barthé’s works in his pictorial survey The Negro in Art: A Pictorial Record of the Negro Artist and of the Negro Theme in Art (1940). Locke was known as a promoter of young African American artists. As an admirer and collector of Barthé’s work, Locke was careful to protect his own public identity while privately advocating same-sex relationships. His personal connection with Barthé remained private.

Barthé is best known for his 1930s sculptures reflecting the racial and political tensions in the United States. Among his most famous works are Mother and Son (1939), a sculpture of an African American woman holding her lifeless son’s body after he was lynched; African Dancer (1933); Feral Benga (1935); and Life Mask of Rose McClendon(1932), a mask of one of the first African American women to become a theatrical star.

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Cool “Papa” Bell: Hall of Fame Negro League baseball player. The son of a farmer from Starkville, Mississippi, and the grandson of a Native American, James “Cool Papa” Bell was considered the fastest man ever to play baseball. The legends concerning his quickness prove almost Herculean in the retelling, with numerous accounts of Bell scoring in games from first base on bunts by his teammates. Bell also stole 175 bases over 200 games.

Bell began his baseball career in his hometown of Starkville, competing in local pick-up games with older youths and adults on the local sandlots. As Bell entered his teens, he found himself forced to move to Saint Louis to live with a brother because in 1920 Starkville possessed neither an African American high school nor any job opportunities for young black men.

In Saint Louis, Bell attended high school for two years while working in a packing plant. He also played baseball for a local semi-professional team. Bell soon attracted attention from the local Negro League team, the Saint Louis Stars, and signed a contract for ninety dollars a month. By 1924, he was the team’s regular centerfielder.

Bell’s career in professional African American baseball lasted over twenty-eight years. The bulk of his tenure was spent with three prominent teams, the Saint Louis Stars, the Pittsburgh Crawfords, and the Homestead Grays. All three teams won multiple Negro League world championships.

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The Birth of a Race (1918): was the much-heralded and widely anticipated African American cinematic response to the brutally racist images in D. W. Griffith’s popular film The Birth of a Nation (1915). The Birth of a Nation and other films such as The Nigger (1917) and Colored Villainy (1917) generated a quick and angry response among urban blacks and became the focal point for a nascent movement among African American civic groups to create their own vision of the Negro in American life.

Having rejected early attempts to persuade whites to censor films with blatantly racist images, such leaders as W. E. B. Du Bois and May Childs Nerney of the NAACP and Booker T. Washington and Emmett J. Scott of the Tuskegee Institute struggled with what would be the most appropriate response to Griffith’s film. Among the possibilities they considered were film versions of Washington’s 1901 autobiography Up from Slavery or perhaps a cinematic version of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 best-selling novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It was Emmett J. Scott, Washington’s confidant and private secretary at Tuskegee, who made the initial contacts with Hollywood filmmakers to produce a story of universal Negro progress that he hoped would effectively counter Griffith’s interpretation of the African American past.

The project was hamstrung from the beginning. After an abortive attempt to produce “Lincoln’s Dream,” a film that would appeal to white audiences and that would capture the progress and sufferings of American Negroes, the NAACP contingent gave up on the project. Du Bois himself announced plans to create his own dramatic pageant of black history, but it never came to pass. Meanwhile Scott pressed on with his hope that he could produce a film with a black cast and crew that would be loosely based on Up from Slavery, but he never could find sufficient financing or even interest for an all-black film in the white-dominated world of Hollywood. The final version of The Birth of a Race, which premiered in Chicago in late 1918, bore scant resemblance to the aspirations of any of the black planners. The American entry into World War I in 1917 helped change the entire focus of the film from black progress to the general triumph of American idealism. In fact the story line of the final product was actually about the moral dilemma facing a German American family at the outbreak of the war.

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Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP): Organized in New York in 1925, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) was the largest and most effective predominantly African American union in the years before the civil rights movement. Led by A. Philip Randolph and Milton P. Webster, the BSCP succeeded in becoming the first African American–led union to gain American Federation of Labor (AFL) recognition in 1935 and succeeded in negotiating its first contract in 1937. Through its organizing, the BCSP vaulted many working-class African Americans into relative financial security for the first time and launched the career of Randolph, perhaps the most important civil rights leader between W. E. B. Du Bois and the rise of the Southern Freedom movement, as well as countless other civil rights leaders and organizers.

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The Brownies’ Book: was a children’s magazine published by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and its monthly journal, The Crisis, for a brief period from January 1920 until December 1921. The magazine was the brainchild of W. E. B. Du Bois, managing editor of The Crisis, and his literary editor, Jessie Redmon Fauset, who became the most prolific contributor to and managing editor of the new publication. She was ably assisted by Augustus Granville Dill, the business manager of The Crisis. Du Bois had a long-standing interest in childhood education and literature, evidenced in part by his willingness to devote one Crisis issue each year, the “Children’s Number,” to the education and acculturation of black children. The new magazine was first advertised in the pages of The Crisis in October 1919 and promised to “teach Universal love and Brotherhood for all little folk—black and brown and yellow and white”; it would be “designed for all children, but especially for ours,” a group that Du Bois was fond of calling “the children of the sun.” Subscription rates were to be one dollar a year; individual copies could be had for ten cents each. The first issue appeared in January 1920. The magazine was well received by the young readership, but unfortunately was not able to gain enough subscriptions to secure its fate. In Dec 1921, after twenty-four issues, The Brownies’ Book ceased publication.

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African American Charitable Institutions: In the nineteenth century, African Americans had comparatively little cash surplus to give to philanthropic and charitable causes. Yet the black community made a disproportionately large effort to help its unfortunate and underprivileged. In the early twenty-first century, African Americans gave more than any other group in American society, donating 25 percent more of their discretionary income to charities than whites did. On average, black households gave $1,614 to their favorite causes, and additionally many black families contributed 10 percent of their incomes to the church. In 2004, African Americans gave $11.4 billion to charitable causes; $7.2 billion went to churches and faith-based organizations, and $4.2 billion went to charities, education, politics, and other causes.

Black charitable institutions received a boost after the emergence of the black women’s club movement in the last decade of the nineteenth century. Although black women’s clubs considered education the most important area of their work, their members also supported and reinforced the charitable work of black churches, fraternal orders, and mutual benefit societies. Black women established and maintained kindergartens, homes for the aged, and hospitals, and they participated in the settlement house movement. Their working girls’ homes provided lodging, employment information, and job training. Fund-raising efforts constituted a large part of this charity work, and seemingly frivolous activities like balls, card games, and whist clubs made important economic contributions to the black community. Thus women’s club work served as an important link between private charity and professional career work, and, like white charity work, it influenced the formation of the American welfare state.

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Kenneth Bancroft Clark (b. 24 July 1914; d. 1 May 2005) and Mamie Katherine Phipps Clark (b. 18 April 1917; d. 11 August 1983): were husband-and-wife collaborators and educational psychologists who studied the relationship between racial identity and children’s self-esteem and and development.

Kenneth Clark was born in 1914 in the Panama Canal Zone, where his father, Arthur, worked for the United Fruit Company. In 1919 his mother, Miriam, decided to move to America, so she separated from her husband and moved to Harlem with Kenneth and his younger sister. When Kenneth was in junior high school, a career counselor recommended that he prepare for a vocational trade, but his mother, who was earning a very low wage as a seamstress, insisted that he transfer to a school where he would have a rigorous course of study. He went on to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Howard University and then, in 1940, his PhD in psychology at Columbia University—the first African American to do so there. In 1942 he became a professor at the City College of New York, where he taught until 1975 and was the first black tenured professor. Clark’s many books include Prejudice and Your Child (1955), Dark Ghetto: Dilemmas of Social Power (1965), and Crisis in Urban Education (1971).

When he was a master’s student at Howard, Clark met Mamie Phipps. Phipps was born in 1917 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where her father, Harold, a native of the British West Indies, was a doctor; her mother, Kate, assisted him with procedures. Her father’s medical practice allowed the family middle-class status, but Mamie’s education was still segregated. In 1934 she graduated from high school and, having won a scholarship, attended Howard University intending to study math and physics. After she met Kenneth, he suggested that she pursue instead his field, psychology, because then she could explore her interest in children.

In March 1946 the Clarks opened the Northside Testing and Consultation Center, later called the Northside Center for Child Development, and offered psychiatric and psychological services to children and families in Harlem. Because of the stigma of mental illness, Harlem residents were initially afraid to use the center, but soon the center’s intelligence testing services made it popular. Many parents wanted their children who had been labeled mentally retarded by the state schools to be tested independently because they doubted the diagnosis. The center staff determined that most of the children had IQs exceeding mental retardation, thus revealing the schools’ illegal practice of misidentifying children based on their race.

In order to compensate for a lack of educational support for minority children, in 1947 the Clarks instituted remedial math and reading programs at Northside. Mamie Clark served as Northside’s executive director from its founding until 1979. In addition to advising the national Head Start planning committee, she served on the boards of, among others, the New York Public Library, Teachers College of Columbia University, the Phelps-Stokes Fund, and the Museum of Modern Art. Meanwhile, in 1953 Kenneth Clark worked with other social scientists to compose a brief report showing the results of the Clarks’ study on black children’s self-perception, and the report was presented to NAACP lawyers. Subsequently the Clarks’ work was cited in the landmark 1954 Supreme Court school-desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which acknowledged the psychological harm of segregation on children as one reason that separate schools were inherently unequal.

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Encyclopedia of the Negro: The development of an encyclopedia of blacks in the United States and perhaps the world was a long-term dream of W. E. B. Du Bois and others. In the 1930s it looked like it might become a reality before it evolved into another work. David Levering Lewis’s biography of Du Bois includes the detailed story, modifying narratives such as that by Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s “W. E. B. Du Bois and the Encyclopedia Africana, 1909–63,” published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in March 2000. Lewis suggests that it is an exaggeration to say Du Bois worked “tirelessly” on the project between 1932 and 1946 “while beating the bushes for funds” (Gates, p. 210).

Anson Phelps Stokes, president of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, presented the Encyclopedia of the Negro project to an invited group at Howard University in November 1931, proposing a budget of $225,000 to be raised from foundations. Uninvited to the first, Du Bois accepted an invitation to the second meeting in January 1932 and insisted on only black editors. The group reached agreement on a board of directors and an advisory board to select editors. Du Bois and the white sociologist Robert Park were chosen. Du Bois wrote to Carter G. Woodson, who had refused to attend the meeting, that “the enemy has the money and they are going to use it” but maybe he could keep it from misuse.

Du Bois agreed to forgo editorship of the NAACP’s The Crisis when underwriting was in place for the encyclopedia. Instead he left that organization in 1934 and returned to academe and was in even greater need of income. Stokes made presentations to the General Education Board and the Carnegie Corporation and was turned down, but he continued to provide Phelps-Stokes seed money. Du Bois’s official title was “In Charge of Preliminary Correspondence” until May 1936, when he was officially made editor in chief of the still unfunded project.

In 1938 the white sociologist Guy B. Johnson replaced Park on the board to select the permanent editors, and the General Education Board again considered funding the proposal on 6 April. Du Bois and his assistant Rayford W. Logan had champagne on ice, but the positive call never came. Du Bois wrote to Stokes that perhaps “the chief impediment to our raising the funds is my own personality.” As Lewis says, “The more attention paid by the academy and the foundations to the Negro, the more resistance there was to privileging the scholarship of the one authority whose claim to interpret the problem of the century was unexcelled.”

Refused their $260,000 request, Stokes and Du Bois still had hopes for their application for 60 percent of that amount to the Carnegie Corporation. In an indirect reply in November 1938 they were informed of the visit of the forty-year-old economist Gunnar Myrdal from Sweden. Though an alphabetical list of topics with notes and bibliographic suggestions, called Encyclopedia of the Negro, was published in 1945 by the Phelps-Stokes Fund (in his introduction Du Bois says that the Depression and World War II made it difficult to complete the full project), the full Encyclopedia of the Negro, with funding from the Carnegie Corporation, evolved into the $300,000 Carnegie-Myrdal Study, which was published in two volumes in 1944 as An American Dilemma, with extensive referencing of Du Bois and his work but without his direct involvement.

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Judges and Judiciary: Between the late nineteenth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century, African Americans interacted with judges and the judiciary on two major levels: first, as objects of legal decision-making, whether as lawyers, parties, or uninvolved citizens, notably in cases involving civil rights; and second, as members of the judiciary making those decisions. The later history of the first level is ironic: while the federal courts led the way in the mid-twentieth century in dismantling the system of Jim Crow legalized segregation, the only reason it was the judiciary rather than the federal legislature that needed to do so was that in the late nineteenth century the U.S. Supreme Court had acted specifically to thwart Congress’s probable attempt to accomplish the same goal decades earlier. On the second level, while at the beginning of the twenty-first century the total number of African American judges remained low, after the middle of the twentieth century African Americans served at all levels of the state and federal judiciaries in increasing numbers.

In the aftermath of the war, the Republican Congress pushed through the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, collectively known as the “Reconstruction Amendments.” Among other things, these amendments outlawed slavery, forbade states from infringing upon due process rights and equal protection of the laws, and mandated that states could not prevent individuals from voting on account of race or previous condition of servitude. The Reconstruction Amendments were probably designed to ensure some level of racial legal equality and to prevent racist whites from seizing political power in the South and then the United States. Shortly after the adoption of the Reconstruction Amendments, however, the Supreme Court in The Slaughter-House Cases (1873) severely restricted the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. Over the next decades courts, including the Supreme Court, arguably continued to enforce the legal or political equality of African Americans: in 1880, for example, the Court in Strauder v. West Virginia held that the exclusion of African Americans from criminal juries for no other reason than race violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. At the same time that some courts were protecting some of the legal and political rights of nonwhites, however, southern whites anxious to keep African Americans powerless and disenfranchised built a system of social inequality—what eventually became the system of Jim Crow legalized segregation, which effectively denied African Americans civil rights as well.

Even during the first decades of the twentieth century, at the height of Jim Crow, some courts, including at times the Supreme Court, continued to protect the rights of African Americans, sometimes by finding that certain laws harming African Americans implicated political or civil rights rather than simply social status.

The second half of the relationship between African Americans and judges and the judiciary lay not in the treatment of African Americans by judges, but rather in the presence on the bench of African American jurists. After the late nineteenth century, the number of African Americans serving as judges increased dramatically; in the early twenty-first century African Americans represented a significant, though probably still under-representative, percentage of judges in the United States.

While there were some African American judges in state courts before and during Reconstruction, their numbers dwindled and then disappeared with the growth of Jim Crow. Robert Morris, the nation’s first African American judge, was appointed to a magistrate’s court in Massachusetts in 1852. In 1870, shortly after the end of the Civil War, Jonathan Jasper Wright became the first African American judge to be elected to the Supreme Court of South Carolina. Wright served for seven years, but resigned in 1877 after a politically and racially motivated investigation into one of his decisions. By the late 1800s, there were few, if any, African American judges remaining in either the North or the South.

By 1971, for example, despite the appointments of men and women such as Hastie, Bolin, Motley, and Marshall, there were only 269 African American judges in the United States. The great majority of these judges, moreover, sat in low-level small-claims and police courts, rather than on state supreme courts or state or federal courts of appeals. The situation in some states remained poor well into the end of the twentieth century: in the early 1990s, for instance, plaintiffs filed several suits against Georgia’s election-based judicial system because only 3 of the state’s 156 judges were African American. The problem of underrepresentation persisted even in the federal judiciary; in 1989, only 11 of the 152 judges on the U.S. courts of appeals were African American; during his eight years in office, President Ronald Reagan appointed only one African American, Lawrence Pierce, to a federal court of appeals. In the early twenty-first century, the problem had attenuated, but not vanished. At beginning of 2008, for example, 91 African Americans were serving as federal district court judges (approximately 9 percent of the total), and 18 African Americans were serving on federal courts of appeals (approximately 7 percent of the total). In 2006, African Americans made up at least 12 percent of the United States population.

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George Edwin Taylor, A Forgotten Presidential Candidate From 1904

Sources:

Encyclopedia of African American History 1896 to the Present, Edited by Paul Finkelman
Publisher: Oxford University Press Print Publication Date: 2009, http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-African-American-History-Present/dp/0195167791
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