The Age of Modernity
Indeed the 1920s was the age of modernity and growth but the United States of America was still struggling with some issues. The country was doing very well economically and the lives of majority of the Americans were improving. Immigrants were moving in streams in the country because it represented a promise that they could not achieve in their home country. In America, people were guaranteed to earn the fruits of their labor and there were unlimited opportunities for growth. However, that was not the case for the black minority. The black communities were still considered as slaves in most parts of the country and in other parts, they were treated as second-class citizens. The situation was very dire to the pint tat immigrants into the country were given more privileges. On the other hand, the age of modernity was also a period of self-actualization of the black community. They began to understand their right and they started to agitate. Black Nationalism was happening in other parts of the world and it was time for America to follow suit.
One of the people who began to enlighten the black community was Alian Locke. He was a guest editor in a monthly periodical called Survey Graphic. He wrote an article called the New Negro and he sued the platform to champion for Black Nationalism. He urged the black community to unite against the injustices that were prevailed upon them (Garvey 126). Locke was one of the few black Americans who were privileged to attain education at the time. He had attained the level of assistant professorship in English at Howard University. The philosophy of Locke was premised on cultural awareness and he aimed to achieve a nation where no race felt insecure with the prosperity of the other. Locke wanted the White people to understand the plight and the struggles of the black people. He wanted a united America in the face of the struggles.
Locke wanted to empower the black community with political awareness and self-confidence. However, the laws on equality were being disregarded in most of the states in the county. He was inspired buy some of the black empowerment leaders like Marcus Garvey. An empowered black man could stand up for his right (Garvey 123). In most of the occasions, the black people were not aware of the rights and they looked down upon themselves even more than the whites did. Locke was hoping for fair treatment. He wanted more people from the black community to attain a good level of education like him. Locke was one of the early writers of black literature.
In the midst of black empowerment, a force emerged to disrupt the progress that was being made. The Ku Klux Klan was a white supremacist group, which was established to maintain white dominance in America (Evans 18). According to the group, the white people were a superior race and the other races especially blacks were supposed to serve them. The group was vehemently opposed to black empowerment and the stance completely contradicted what people like Locke were trying to achieve. The message of the Ku Klux Klan was a message of division and hate.
The second Klan emerged in the 1920s in the perceived period of modernity. The group was taking the country backward to the period of slavery. Noble efforts by other people that were supposed to unite the country were shadowed by the violent acts of the group. Fear and suspicion began to emerge again in the country. The black community became timid and they reduced their agitation for equality.
Evans, Hiram Wesley. “The klan: Defender of americanism.” Forum, 1925.
Garvey, Marcus. “1986. The Negro’s Greatest Enemy.” The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey: or Africa for the Africans, Vols. I & II (1923): 124-34.
Johnson Michael. “Reading the American Past, Fifth Edition, Volume II (1865), Boston, 2012.
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