After the Redeemers took control in the mid 1870s, Jim Crow laws were created to legally enforce racial segregation. The most extreme white leaderwas Senator Ben Tillman of South Carolina, who proudly proclaimed in 1900, "We have done our level best [to prevent blacks from voting]...we have scratched our heads to find out how we could eliminatethe last one of them. We stuffed ballot boxes. We shot them. We are not ashamed of it." (Logan, p. 91)
With no voting rights and no voice in government, Blacks in the South were subjected to a systemof segregation and discrimination. Blacks and whites attended separate schools. Blacks could not serve on juries, which meant that they had little if any legal recourse. In Black Boy, anautobiographical account of life during this time, Richard Wright writes about being struck with a bottle and knocked from a moving truck for failing to call a white man "sir" (Wright, Chapter Nine). Between 1889and 1922, the NAACP calculates that lynchings reached their worst level in history, with almost 3,500 people, three-fourths of them black men, murdered.
In response to this treatment, the Southwitnessed two major events in the lives of 20th century African Americans: the Great Migration and the American Civil Rights Movement.
The Great Migration began during World War I, hitting its highpoint during World War II. During this migration, Black people left the racism and lack of opportunities in the South and settled in northern cities like Chicago, where they found work in factories andother sectors of the economy. (Katzman, 1996) This migration produced a new sense of independence in the Black community and contributed to the vibrant Black urban culture seen during the HarlemRenaissance.
The migration also empowered the growing American Civil Rights Movement. While the Civil Rights movement existed in all parts of the United States, its focus was against the Jim Crow laws in...