From the “New Negro” to Civil Rights: African American Education, 1919–1945

Joy Ann Williamson-Lott, Linda Darling-Hammond and Maria E. Hyler

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

From the “New Negro” to Civil Rights: African American Education, 1919–1945

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In the 1920s, African Americans returned from World War I with a renewed fervor for egalitarian education. The New Negro of the 1920s more aggressively agitated for equal rights, exalted African American culture, and demanded self-determination. Such sentiment evidenced itself in both attitude and organization through Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association, the Harlem Renaissance, the growth of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Carter G. Woodson's Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. As a result of this new attitude, the issue of how and to what end African Americans should be educated came to a head in the 1920s. Black college student enrollment increased six-fold from 2,132 in 1917 to 13,580 in 1927. This influx of students demanded an education that would allow them to make the democracy for which many had fought abroad a domestic reality. Their actions posed a vigorous new challenge to industrial education and second-class citizenship for African Americans.

Keywords: African American education; student enrollment; civil rights; egalitarian education; New Negro; self-determination

Article.  5707 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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