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African American Sites in the Digital Collections

1876-1900: Rise of Industrial America

Image: see caption below
[Booker T. Washington, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing slightly left, holding newspaper].
Photogrpahic print.
[between 1890 and 1900]

Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. Library of Congress.


When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed less than 8 percent of the African-American population lived in the Northeast or Midwest. Migration from the South has long been a significant feature of black history. An early exodus from the South occurred between 1879 and 1881, when about 60,000 African-Americans moved into Kansas and others settled in the Oklahoma Indian Territories in search of social and economic freedom.

During the 1870s to the start of World War I, the period when African American educator Booker T. Washington was gaining prominence, was also a difficult time for African Americans. This period has been called the "nadir" of black history because so many gains earned after the Civil War seemed lost by the time of World War I, and because racial violence and lynching reached an all time high. However, both the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Urban League (NUL) were founded by blacks and whites during this time.

People, Places and Events

  1. Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson (1878-1949): Invented a new way to tap
    Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (SCROLL TO SECOND ENTRY ON PAGE)

    Tap Dancer
  2. Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931): Journalist and teacher
    Ida B. Wells-Barnett


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  July 30, 2010
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