Uplifting Black Citizens Delinquent: The Vanguard Movement, 1900–1930

Geoff K. Ward

in The Black Child-Savers

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780226873169
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226873190 | DOI:
Uplifting Black Citizens Delinquent: The Vanguard Movement, 1900–1930

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Black opposition to Jim Crow juvenile justice systems went through waves of social action by the black child-saving movement. The movement's phases are distinguished by historical period as well as by variations in black social status, oppositional politics, and social movement resources. This chapter covers the first wave of reform, which commenced in the late nineteenth century and peaked in the 1920s. This chapter surveys its logic and organization, including its background, ideology, and the way in which the resources of early reformers shaped and limited their collective efficacy and societal impact. Pragmatic and conservative strategies, extremely limited political capital, and a reliance on private resources moderated their advances. Yet this early effort to “uplift the race” through self-help set the stage for future civil rights challenges and the eventual legal demise of Jim Crow juvenile justice.

Keywords: Vanguard Movement; black child-saving movement; American juvenile justice; American democracy; Jim Crow; black youth; black community; civil rights

Chapter.  13250 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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