African American Citizenship

Henry Louis Gates

in The Oxford Handbook of African American Citizenship, 1865-Present

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195188059
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 African American Citizenship

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This article highlights the social and economic experience of African Americans and comments on their lives with respect to politics, law, and education. Following the Civil War, the economic benefits of paying black workers in the cotton industry as little as possible, and much less than their white counterparts, certainly provided a major motivation for the curtailment of social and political rights of the former slaves. How would the country's history since 1865 have been different had this not been the case? What would the American economic and political landscape look like at the dawn of the twenty-first century? The article focuses on various scholars' deliberations on such intriguing questions. Despite the historical barriers to their participation in civic life, African Americans continued to strive for a full share of the American dream. This article traces these efforts from the collapse of Reconstruction through the Gilded Age and the Great Migration to the post-WWII era. In addition, the article examines race-conscious “color blindness,” especially in relation to WWII.

Keywords: African Americans; citizenship; economic benefits; social rights; Reconstruction; political rights

Article.  6282 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics

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