THE ROLE OF MULTI-CULTURALISM IN ESTABLISHING A NEW PERIOD OF SEPARATE BUT EQUAL SEGREGATION IN THE UNITED STATES : A COMPARISON OF THE PERIODS AFTER
THE FIRST AND SECOND CIVIL WARS

 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 


There are two great periods of substantial change in American civil rights history, the first American civil war, 1861-1865, and the second civil war, 1954-1966, under the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr. Referring to these two crucial periods as civil wars encourages us to look for parallels between the post-Civil War period and the post-King period. This comparison can help foretell the future political path of the United States.

Racism is a much more serious factor than ever admitted by American sociologists. A racial caste system is primarily an economic phenomenon. Prejudice and racial ideologies of inferiority back up this economic phenomenon, but are not really essential. For instance, many white people are not prejudiced against blacks in the sense that they do not believe blacks are inferior beings. But, out of economic concerns, these same people will often vote for policies that maintain the racial system. As an economic system, racism is hard to overcome because this would require a great deal of effort and money to overcome it, and many whites do not want to pay this high price.


COMPARISON OF THE FIRST AND SECOND CIVIL WARS

The First American Civil War (1861-1865)

The United States fought the first Civil War over the future of slavery, because the country was separating gradually into two different countries with different economies, political systems, societies and cultures. The situation became so impossible that force had to be used. The blacks benefited a great deal from this use of force, because the war saw the end of slavery. In effect, blacks benefited by using the North as a power to force change on the South.

The Second American Civil War (1956-1966)

The United States fought the second Civil War over the future of the apartheid system. The movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr. constituted a second civil war. (See Johnson 1995 and Marable 1991.) The effort was primarily the result of forcing the non-South areas to intervene in the South's political system. As in the first Civil War, the South tried to live in the past. The situation became so embarrassing and heart-wrenching that force has to be employed. And as in the first Civil War, blacks benefited from this use of force because it forced the South to change.


COMPARISON OF THE FIRST AND SECOND RECONSTRUCTION PERIODS

The First Reconstruction: The South Loses the War but Wins the Peace

The first reconstruction is testimony to the underestimation of the forces of racism in America. It also shows that the various factions in American politics were primarily concerned about what would happen to whites and the American system.

The naivete of the reformist forces is seen in the fact that they let the Southern governments alone for several years before they stepped in to stop the re-confederization of that region. When the North finally did step in, they did too little/too late.

It was not until March 1867 that military rule replaced the civil administrations that had been operating in the South for almost two years. An army of occupation of 20,000 soldiers took control of the Southern governments. The North, however, could not sustain this occupation, and by 1869 the southern states were taking back control.


The event that sealed the fate of blacks came in the 1876 election. This pitted Republican Governor Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio against Democratic Governor Samuel Tilden of New York. Tilden actually won a majority of the popular vote, but a question arose over the electoral vote. Both the Republicans and the Democrats claimed victory in South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. The vote in Oregon was also in question. Congress set up a commission to award the votes. The commission finally voted eight to seven to give the twenty votes in question to Hayes.

The commission's decision outraged the Democrats, who felt the Republicans had stolen the election. To placate them, the Republicans compromised. The Democrats accepted the commission's decision, while President Hayes agreed to remove the last of the federal soldiers from the South. This Compromise of 1877 between northern Republicans and southern Democrats proved to be even more long lasting than the Missouri Compromise of 1820. It endured from 1877 until the administration of Harry Truman, in other words, for seventy years. And for seventy years it kept the racial issue, the country's most divisive issue, out of the national arena.

The liberal forces were more interested in making investments in the post-war economy that in pursuing black liberation in the South. They felt they had gone far enough by establishing constitutional guarantees for the blacks, and they no longer feared a renewal of the war. Therefore, they allowed white southerners to regain control in order to achieve peace. The number of northern troops in the South was never significant enough to control things -- it was a token force (although Grant did suppress the Klan by 1871).

Why was there so little protest over this agreement between North and South? One factor was that the nation felt exhausted over the war and the continuing problems of Reconstruction. It wanted to get on with other things. The belief in the laissez-faire system also provided a convenient excuse. Abolitionists believed that market forces and the "American way" would work to improve the condition of blacks. Of course, this was political naivete in the extreme. And how much of it was sheer rationalization will probably never be known.

Perhaps the most important reason for the compromise with the South was the sheer political power of the region. David Potter (1972) notes that the South emerged from the war stronger than it was before the conflagration. Formerly, the slaves had been counted at a three-fifths ratio for purposes of representation. Now their electoral college representation counted as a full five-fifths, yet virtually none of them could vote. Ironically, for causing the Civil War, the nation rewarded the South with a bonus of twelve additional seats in the House.

The federal government was the primary source of monies in the first reconstruction. There was very little attempt to make sure that blacks were integrated into the economy. Instead, the bureaucracy of federal systems created enough opportunities for the more educated blacks that they became somewhat contented and quite blind. One of the blind ones was the great Frederick Douglass himself. Like most black men of his time, "Douglass himself was terribly optimistic. He believed that if the blacks had the vote they could elect sympathetic local and state officials, thereby leading to their own advancement. The passage of the Fifteenth Amendment was seen by Douglass and others as the capstone of the revolution. All shared the euphoric hope that the former slaves were now in a safe position, ready to move ahead." (McFeely 1991:271-273)

Douglass had called for a black vice-president. The white response had been accusations that he wanted offices to be granted according to race, without regard to merit. (McFeely 1991:317) In some respects, there is little that is new under the sun. Here we find early charges of "reverse racism" brought against blacks who supported a role for blacks in the federal government.

President Hayes consulted Douglass on the reliability of black petitioners. Douglass took pride in being able to take English friends to the White House, to introduce them to the president and sometimes even to the first lady. Like an early version of today's Tony Brown, Douglass started to rely more and more on his most famous lecture, "The Self-Made Man." "He refused to see that something had changed for the worse and maintained that conditions in the Southern states were steadily improving "(McFeely 1991:292-293 & 298-300).

Douglass was virtually oblivious to the concession to white supremacists in the South made by President Rutherford B. Hayes that led to the pullout of federal troops from the South. Indeed, Douglass became part of the growing, self-conscious black establishment. President Hayes named Douglass marshal of the District of Columbia. Douglass was not opposed to personal nepotism, employing many of his relatives in government agencies over which he had control.

"Douglass was used as part of Hayes's shrewdly constructed screen to conceal the cessation of truly significant federal action on behalf of black people. The stances on various issues that Douglass was to take between 1877 and 1881 were the least honorable and least helpful to his fellow former slaves of any in his long life. They were, in fact, entirely consonant with the betrayal of promises that ended Reconstruction." (McFeely 1991:289 & 291)


The Second Reconstruction

Compared to the first reconstruction, the second reconstruction was a more ambitious effort to help blacks move upwards. But in its own way, it was just as naive and blind as the first reconstruction in underestimating the powers of resistance. The second reconstruction set up a considerable "civil rights industry." While this industry has certainly helped blacks, it was too weak to overcome the vast resistance of whites to the necessary changes to accomplish real success. And just as in the first reconstruction, the white liberals and blacks became somewhat contented and, therefore, very blind. So blind in fact that the liberal forces failed to see the resurgence of white resistance that led to the recent Republican ascendancy in congress.

Just as in the first reconstruction, most of the progress made by blacks has come because of the actions of government. This is absolutely necessary and a good thing, but if the monies continue without substantial progress in other areas, they become corruptive. Like Frederick Douglass, the black middle class has become complacent and self-satisfied. Only the cold cruel slap of worsening events will wake them out of their stupor. As in the first reconstruction, the intellectual, educational, and social work communities in America have been substantially corrupted by government money.


RACIST CONSERVATIVE, LIBERAL AND NEW LEFT INTERPRETATIONS OF THE FIRST AND SECOND RECONSTRUCTIONS


Three Racist Interpretations of the First Reconstruction

There are three racist versions of the first reconstruction: the conservative, the liberal, and the New Left. The conservative version blamed the federal government for the failure of the South to change. Early scholarly treatments of the 1910s and 1920s, those in the William Dunning school, were very harsh toward Republican Reconstruction policies. But scholarship of the 1940s and 1950s (see Foner 1988:xx-xxiii) showed that the Dunning theories were largely based on the racist belief in "Negro incapacity." Less biased research has shown that "Negro rule" in the South was a myth and that there was racism in northern Republican policy makers as well as among white southerners.

The liberal version of the failure of the first reconstruction points to the resistance of Southern whites. The liberal interpretation does not, however, point out just how limited the liberal efforts were to change the South. American liberalism, true to its underestimation of the role of race in American society, underestimated the resistance to efforts to end racial inequality.

And then there is the New Left version of reconstruction. The New Left revisionists (like Foner 1988) maintain that the liberals betrayed the blacks because the blacks were not allowed to achieve economic parity. The obvious question, however, is how could the liberals have betrayed the blacks when the liberals never intended for blacks to achieve parity with whites? You can't "sell-out" someone you never had any realistic intention of promoting.

In one sense, it does not matter which version of the reconstruction myth is the most inaccurate, because, regardless of what the North did, white southerners ultimately would retake the political power and deny the vote to the former slaves. Since the North did not want to keep troops stationed in the South for a long period, there was no question that ultimately the blacks would be denied the vote. All the South had to do was wait.

Three Racist Versions of the Failure of the Second Reconstruction

The debate over the failure of the second reconstruction very much resembles that over the first reconstruction. Conservatives follow the line that government intervention was a disaster, as, in their view, are all large-scale attempts at government intervention. They put the blame for the failure of reconstruction on the government itself, absolving white resistance of any role.

The liberals blame the conservative forces for the failure of the second reconstruction. This absolves them of any blame for themselves -- for underestimating the forces of resistance and designing flawed policies.

The New Left version of the failure puts some of the blame on the conservatives, but saves its wrath for the liberals, who the New Left has declared as naive in thinking that integration was ever a realistic goal in capitalist America. Of course, the New Left takes no responsibility for its considerable role in encouraging white backlash by its immature and irresponsible behavior and beliefs. Instead, they have given up on integration and now push a multicultural version of life in America.

The bottom line is that all these debates are false ones, because they all underplay the role of racism in American life. The debates about the two reconstructions are typical of the debates between conservative, liberal, and New Left racists in America. They are false debates because none of the advocates ever see how serious racism really is in America.


THE MYTHS OF LINCOLN AND KING

The Myth of Abraham Lincoln

The people of the United States have stridently avoided considering the impact of race on their society and government. Part of this refusal to consider unpleasant facts is the mythification of Abraham Lincoln. The myth serves the purpose of allowing Americans to avoid considering what kind of nation kills more than 623,000 of its male population over an issue that is morally indefensible, namely, the enslavement of human beings. The Lincoln myth allows the focus to be placed on the sufferings of the president, instead of the racism of the participants in the war.
The mythification of Lincoln involves imbuing the man with all the virtues of white middle-class American culture. He represents upward mobility, rising from a background of poverty to the highest office in the land. He is also a "regular guy," one with a terrific sense of down-home humor, which makes him one with the white middle class. Not only that, he is humble to the point of self-deprecation. He takes on martyr qualities as writers picture him persevering against the resistance of others not as committed to maintaining the union. And yet he is never preachy and never politically radical in a way that would make the middle class feel uncomfortable. The myth actually turns Lincoln into a Christlike figure, dying for our sins, because it constantly stresses the terrible personal sufferings of the nation's president during his tenure (Hofstadter 1973).

The truth is that Lincoln was the consummate politician who was the master of the appropriate political compromise. He was very ambitious and used his self-deprecating political humor to his political advantage. His main problem was his ineffectiveness. The list of areas in which Lincoln had trouble managing is seemingly endless, including his children (who ran wild in the White House even during important conferences); wife (who in eight months spent a four-year spending allotment for the First Lady and who publicly berated the president); cabinet (which thought Lincoln weak and incompetent); army (failing to appoint an effective military leadership); and secret service (dismissing the head of the presidential bodyguard on the day of his assassination).

Part of the myth is that Lincoln was politically progressive, but was held back by mean-spirited politicians, especially the radical Republicans. Lincoln did face a very different Congress from that faced by his predecessors (Boinville 1982:116-119). The defection of the South meant that the Republicans almost totally dominated that body. But Lincoln was actually the conservative in this drama.

The radicals would have supported him, if he had more liberal policies; however, the president followed a conservative course, which put him at odds with Congress.

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln shortly after the end of the war was a terrible national tragedy. But would his policies have made any real difference? There probably would have been less bitterness, but the great compromiser could not have changed the end result. White southerners could not be denied. In fact, to perpetuate the myth that everything would have been much better between the two regions if Lincoln had lived is to ignore the power distribution in the South and perpetuate the Southern version of Reconstruction.

The Myth of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great man, just as was Lincoln. There are, however, a number of myths about the man some which have just been recently revealed (Branch). One of them is that the civil rights revolution started with King himself. The truth is that King fell into the job. He was chosen because he had just recently arrived in Montgomery to replace the controversial Rev. Vernon Johns as pastor to the Dexter Avenue Baptist church. King wanted change, after all he had been introduced to the teachings of Vernon Johns through Johns' disciple, Ralph Abernathy, but he had not been active at all in civil rights activities.

That the civil rights movement was not planned is evident from the history of the movement. Starting with the 1954 bus boycott in Montgomery, events started happening with seeming lightning speed. King had all he could do just to prevent events running away from him. He was always flying by the seat of his pants and having to ask constantly "what next" to keep the movement alive.

In January 1966 King moved into a tenement apartment on Chicago's west side and announced plans to further integration in the North. His campaign soon foundered, however, as rioting by working-class whites brought King one of his most humiliating defeats.

At the time of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, he was no longer seen as an effective leader. David Lewis (1978:355) writes that the year 1967 became one of "an open hunting season on Martin King and the nonviolent movement." He came to be seen increasingly as irrelevant and that conviction has only grown stronger over time in the New Left/multicultural community.

The left always likes to point out how naive King was. But comparing his insight into American reality to the New Left and its fellow travelers, he was the very model of realism. He was smart enough to know that the radicalism of the young people in the New Left and the black power slogans of the Black Panthers and other black nationalist groups were ultimately self-defeating and would only give rise to repression and backlash. And, frankly, it was his very naivete that enabled him to appeal to both black and white and made it possible for him to be so successful.


SEPARATISTS DEFEAT THE MODERATES: DELANY OVER DOUGLASS AND MALCOLM X OVER MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.


Martin R. Delany wins out over Frederick Douglass

Martin Robison Delany was born 1812 (died 1885), Charleston, Virginia, now West Virginia. This doctor of medicine who settled in Pittsburgh became the historical prototype of the "Afro-American Nationalist" (Ullman 1971:13). Delany was the spokesman for the black nationalist phase of Douglass' day. For a time he was Douglass' co-editor of the abolitionist newspaper The North Star in 1847. The two men fell out over Delany's acceptance of emigration for blacks as worthy of consideration. By 1854 Douglass came to be seen as the black spokesman primarily to the whites. The black abolitionists were now working with Delany (Ullman 1971:150-151).

To show that there is nothing new under the sun in race relations, including afrocentricity, note the following items about Delany. Delany caused quite a controversy when he demanded that the Republican party share patronage of public office with the blacks on a "pro-rata" basis. (Ullman 1971:414) And in 1879 Delany published Principia of Ethnology: The Origin of Races with an Archeological Compendium of Ethiopian and Egyptian Civilization (Ullman 1971:510-511). This pseudo-scientific tract was his last gesture of defiance to the white world. It was a pseudo-scientific tract on behalf of the Negro in general and Africa in particular. Like the Afrocentrists of today, he connected American and African blacks to the unquestioned wonders of the Ethiopian and Egyptian civilizations. "He believed that the lost civilizations of Africa were man's highest achievements, not even yet duplicated by any modern society (Ullman 1971:512)."


Malcolm X Defeats Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. had lost much of his influence in the black community by 1967. The ideas of Malcolm X began to replace those of King as early as 1964 when the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (S.N.C.C.) first asked Malcolm X to speak to its field workers. Malcolm X wanted economic, political, and social independence for blacks -- not racial integration. And he wanted it by any means necessary. Malcolm X and his disciples rejected racial integration as the main goal for African Americans. They believed that American society was too corrupt, racist, and imperialist for black people to become integrated into it, even if such integration became possible (Morris 1993:51).

Malcolm X was a key founder of the black power movement, which was taken up by such black leaders as Stokely Carmichael. A number of black civil rights leaders, including Joseph Lowery, Benjamin Hooks, and Jesse Jackson, adopted Malcolm's third world outlook (Friedman 1995:229-231 and 327 & 330). As with Delany, separatism won out over integration in the black and white liberal communities.


COMPARISON OF THE FIRST AND SECOND POPULIST MOVEMENTS

The First American Populism

Liberal supporters of populism saw in this movement a possible political alliance between the poor blacks of the South and the poor whites. This was indeed an optimistic approach because traditionally blacks had aligned themselves with upper class whites for protection against lower class whites (Woodward:51). For blacks, populism was a movement in which the blacks would align with the poor and working class whites to get a bigger slice of the pie. They, however, like all American liberals, seriously underestimated the racism of the lower and working class whites.

Shapiro (1969:27& 29) notes that the white Populists' interest in the Negro vote was mainly a result of political expediency. And in that vein the Populists defended the Negro's right to the franchise and also his right to hold office, to serve on juries, to receive a fair hearing in the courts and to receive protection against lynchers. The Populists proclaimed that economic interest, not race, was the central issue in the South. In 1892 the populist leader Tom Watson asked what was wrong with telling Negro farmers that they stood in the same boat as the white farmers. Watson explained to the poor blacks and whites that "You are kept apart that you may be separately fleeced of your earnings. You are made to hate each other because upon that hatred is rested the keystone of the arch of financial despotism which enslaves you." But the Populists only granted concessions to Negroes to get their votes and never intended to grant anything like near equality to blacks. Shapiro (1969:34-35) demolishes the pretension that Tom Watson was a truly non-racist white pioneer.

Populism frightened the more powerful conservative elements in the South (Shapiro 1969:30). "Alarmed by the success that the Populists were enjoying with their appeal to the Negro voter, the conservatives themselves raised the cry of 'Negro domination' and white supremacy, and enlisted the Negrophobe elements (Woodward 77-79)."

Populism did not work because of the inherent opposition between lower class whites and blacks. All whites under racism were deemed superior to blacks. Not only did they feel this emotionally, but this idea was enforced by the entirety of Southern society.


The Second American Populism: Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition

Marshall Frady (1996:381 & 383) writes of Jesse Jackson's populism as Gospel Populism. He had a populist "dream of an alliance of all society's discounted and discarded, black and white, from the cities and the farmland." Similar to the first populism, Jackson tried to link blacks and white working people in the country.

Jackson ran for the presidency in 1984 and again in 1988. No other blackman had ever gotten as far as Jesse Jackson did in the 1988 Democratic party primaries for the presidential nomination. He actually had one-third of the number of delegates necessary for the nomination. Like the first populism, Jesse Jackson's populism was doomed to failure no matter how much some parts of the liberal community may have wanted it to succeed. (Jackson's star took a definite dive when he made insulting remarks about New York City being "Hymietown" and then flirted with the Reverend Farrakhan of the Black Muslims.)


THE TERRIBLE RESULTS OF POPULISM: COMPARISON OF THE SEPARATE BUT EQUAL (JIM CROW) AND THE PLURAL BUT EQUAL SYSTEMS (MULTI-CULTURALISM) OF SEGREGATION


The Jim Crow System: Separate but Equal Segregation

The Jim Crow system of segregation in the South was the punishment doled out to the blacks for seeking to ally themselves with lower class and working class whites against the upper class whites. The South passed law after law restricting the free movement and activities of blacks, thereby creating a terrible system of apartheid. In 1896 the Supreme Court's Plessy v. Ferguson decision sanctioned the "separate but equal" doctrine that Booker T. Washington had already endorsed in his "separate as the fingers" reference. The Plessy decision involved only transportation, but the courts soon extended the formula to schools and public accommodations.

The great spokesman for acceptance of the Jim Crow system was Booker T. Washington, president of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, at Tuskegee, Alabama. He dominated the racial sphere from 1895 to his death in 1915. Even though Washington secretly supported several actions to promote integration, the vast majority of Washington's work was always done within the system of "separate but equal." He simply tried to expand the notion of equal, pleading and appealing to the whites for more equal treatment, trading better treatment for black cooperation with the whites.

Few sociologists know this, but Robert E. Park, the father of racial and ethnic sociology, and his fellow sociologists cooperated with Booker T. Washington. Park was even Washington's private secretary for a time.

The Multicultural System: Plural but Equal Segregation

At the election polls, the reaction of whites to Jesse Jackson's flirting with populism came in the form of a terrible counter reaction. This counter reaction, however, is much more serious in the sense that it not only threatens the progress made following the second civil war but also threatens to weaken the welfare state for all, both black and white. The equal in the plural but equal system is on the verge of being canceled in the United States. Many of the individual states in America are not waiting for federal action but are ridding themselves of the affirmative action programs built up so painstakingly by the liberals over the decades. President Clinton sounded the death knell for any true equality between the multicultural groups when he signed the welfare reform bill. This marked a significant change in American politics, as the government has now chosen not to assure a safety net under those who are the most unfortunate in American society.

The second period of segregation does not have a single major spokesperson to play the role of a Booker T. Washington. But though the power may be more diffused, multilculturalist supporters are collectively playing the role of Booker T. And sociologists, who are primarily multiculturalists, actively support this system, as Rober Park supported Booker T. Washington.


TERRIBLE RESULTS OF THE SEGREGATIONIST PERIODS: THE WEAKENING OF THE LEFT

Terrible Results of the Apartheid System

Egerton (1995) has shown that liberals in the South, both black and white, never challenged the basic overall system of white dominance in that region. And this, more than anything else, illustrates how liberalism works within a racist system. Egerton recounts conference after conference, of blacks, of whites, of blacks and whites, dealing with the race problem. Male and female liberals built considerable reputations and careers speaking on race, but never fundamentally challenged racism.

There was, however, one dissenting voice that Egerton did not discuss. And that was the Rev. Vernon Johns out of Darlington Heights, Virginia. This oversight is forgivable, however, because as perhaps the one Southerner who consistently refused to cooperate with the jim crow system, Vernon Johns was largely ignored not only by whites, but also by blacks. The reaction of intellectuals to Vernon Johns illustrates the inability of any age's contemporary thinkers to see beyond their own self-interests.


Terrible Results of Multiculturalist Separatism

Multiculturalism has split the forces of the left into at least four mutually hostile groups: neo-conservatives, old liberals, new multicultural liberals, and multicultural Marxists. Multicultural liberalism has now abandoned the traditional political spectrum based on economics for one based on race/ethnicity issues. It has also led to an abandonment of liberalism by a majority of whites. Now, not even the Democratic party will call itself the party of liberalism. This does not, however, seem to bother the multi-cultural theorists. The rejection of liberalism just increases their dissatisfaction with the American political system and the American people as a whole. The situation has gotten so bad that there is considerable talk of race war in the United States (Rowan 1996; Delgado 1996).

What is really happening in America is a type of civil war between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives dominate the nation's non-intellectual institutions, but liberals are powerful enough in the more intellectual institutions to be able to have enough power to sabotage the goals of the conservatives. The result is that none of the nations' institutions run well. Many of them are paralyzed as a result of the conflicting and incompatible goals and means of the warring conservative and liberal factions. For instance, multiculturalism has not been able to take over the nation's schools, at least below the college level, and yet the liberals have so interfered with the schools to oppose conservative policies that about the only thing that reigns in the nation's average schools is a considerable degree of chaos.

The conservatives have responded to liberal policies by leading a tax revolt. As a result, all our institutions have been weakened financially and the chances for real change for the nation's minorities have greatly decreased. Indeed, American government has been so weakened by both sides that it is virtually inept at performing a competent governing role.

THE REVOLT AGAINST THE SEPARATE BUT EQUAL SYSTEM AND A POSSIBLE FUTURE REVOLT AGAINST PLURAL BUT EQUAL SYSTEM OF SEGREGATION


The Revolt Against the Separate but Equal System and the Tuskegee Machnine

In the years following the Atlanta Address, Booker T. Washington threw much of his abundant energy into developing what came to be known as the Tuskegee Machine. This machine was an intricate, nationwide web of institutions in the black and liberal communities that were conducted, dominated, or strongly influenced by Washington (Harlan 1972:254).

According to W.E.B. Du Bois (1940:50) "Tuskegee became a vast information bureau and center of advice. . . .After a time almost no Negro institution could collect funds without the recommendation or acquiescence of Mr. Washington. Few political appointments were made anywhere in the United States without his consent. Even the careers of rising young colored men were very often determined by his advice and certainly his opposition was fatal." Du Bois wrote: "above all, I resented the Tuskegee Machine" (Du Bois 1940:55).

It was Du Bois himself that led the assault on the Tuskegee Machine; an assault that resulted in the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.)


The Future Revolt Against the Plural but Equal System: The Politically Correct Machine

Multiculturalism is the dominant paradigm among the new liberals of today. One big problem with multiculturalism is that it is not a theory. It is a bureaucratic guide to dividing scarce public resources among various highly separate race/ethnic groups. It is not a radical idea, but another form of racial separatism. It is a comfortable series of guidelines for existing within the present level of racism. The United States government has sanctioned much of multi-culturalism, just as it had sanctioned Booker T. Washington. The government knows that multi-culturalism is not really a threat so the government can appear to be progressive while at the same time pushing real progress against racism to the back burner.


CONCLUDING REMARKS

The similarity of the two periods illustrates the ineffectiveness of the American left, including liberalism and Marxism. And the reason for this ineffectiveness is that the American left, like the conservatives, work within a racist framework. Sociology has no effective political theory precisely because it does not see race as integral to the American political system and overall culture. And because liberalism in general and sociology in particular underestimates the role of race it always does too little/too late as far as its beliefs and actions on racial matters. Since the American left has no theories that really address American racism, and therefore do not address American society, they have no realistic way to change the United States.

What we need is a new group of liberals (this time non-racist ones) that will break with the current "plural but equal" multiculturalists, as W.E.B. Du Bois did, and a spokesperson like the Rev. Vernon Johns to push the idea of a new civil rights movement. That's what we need, but the left in American currently refuses to see the need for such changes. The so-called leftists are too busy pretending they are radicals and enjoying the money and positions doled out by the federal government to the various "multi-cultures".


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Boinville, Barbara R. (ed.)
1982 Origins and Development of Congress. 2nd ed. Washington,
D.C.: Congressional Quarterly.
Branch, Taylor
1988 Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63. NY: A Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster.  

Delgado, Richard
1996 The Coming Race War? And Other Apocalyptic Tales of America after Affirmative Action and Welfare. New York: New York University Press.
Du Bois, W. E. B.
1940
Foner, Eric
1988 Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. New York: Harper and Row.
Frady, Marshall
1996 Jesse: The Life and Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson. New York: Random House.
Friedman, Murray
1995 What Went Wrong? The Creation and Collapse of the Black-Jewish Alliance. New York: Free Press.
Harlan, Louis R.
1972 Booker T. Washington: The Making of a Black Leader, 1856-1901. New York:Oxford University Press.
1975 The Booker T. Washington Papers. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
1983 Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee 1901-1915. New York: Oxford University Press.
Hofstadter, Richard
1973 The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It. New York: Vintage Books of Random
House.
Johnson, Haynes
1995 Divided We Fall: Gambling with History in the Nineties. New York: W. W. Norton.
Lewis, David Levering
1978 King: A Biography. Second Edition. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
1994 W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
Marable, Manning
1991 Race, Reform, and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction in Black America, 1945-1982, 2nd ed. Jackson:
University Press of Mississippi.
McFeely, William S.
1991 Frederick Douglass. New York: W. W. Norton.
Morris, Aldon D.
1984 The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement. Black Communities Organizing for Change. New York: Free Press.
1993 "Centuries of Black protest: its significance for America and the world." Pp. 19-69 in Herbert Hill and James E. Jones, Jr. (eds.), Race in America: The Struggle for Equality. Madison, WI: University of
Wisconsin Press.
Potter, David
1972 The South and the Concurrent Majority. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University.
Rowan, Carl T.
1996 The Coming Race War in America: A Wake-up Call. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
Shapiro, Herbert
1969 "The populists and the Negro: A reconsideration." Pp. 27-36 in August Meier and Elliott Rudwick (eds.), The Making of Black America: Essays in Negro Life and History. Volume II. (Originally published in 1939). New York: Atheneum.
Ullman, Victor
1971 Martin R. Delany: The Beginnings of Black Nationalism. Boston: Beacon Press.
Woodward, C. Van
1974 The Strange Career of Jim Crow. Third rev. ed. New York: Oxford University Press.


 

Return to Table of Contents

Return to Home Page